Is Surgery My Only Option?

I recently had a patient tell me she was going to have hip surgery.  I asked her why she had chosen to take this route and she told me that her orthopedic doctor told her she needed surgery.  I asked her if she was having unbearable pain. Her answer, “No.” My next question was does she have any pain at all.  Her answer, “no but I am limited with doing certain things like walking up the stairs while carrying my groceries.”  Then I asked  “do you want to have surgery to fix your problem?”  She told me she was terrified to undergo surgery and she wouldn’t do it if she had a choice.  Now my friends I am looking and feeling quite confused.  You see my patient just told me that she was not in excruciating pain, she had minimal difficulty with very high level activities, and that she was scared to death to have surgery.  But she also said she does not have a choice?  In my Scooby Doo voice I thought…Huh?  I proceeded to ask her what she meant by her statement that she did not have a choice regarding undergoing surgery.  I mean we all have a choice right?  My patient then told me that her orthopedic surgeon told her she needed to have surgery therefore she did not have a choice.  I looked my sweet patient in the eye and I told her,  “My dear, you ALWAYS have a choice.”  That statement changed her life.

Why is it that when a doctor tells us something we feel we do not have a choice and we MUST do what they say? I am a doctor.  Yes I know a lot about a lot of things.  But if I tell my patient something and it does not line up with what they are comfortable with I would expect them to go do some research. I would think they would get a second opinion.   I would think that they would take time to make the right decision.  My friends my friends….doctors are people.  We do not know everything.  Some of us think we do but we don’t!(Not me of course..Hehe)  A real estate agent makes money selling houses…they will convince you to buy one.  A Yoga instructor makes money teaching Yoga…they want you to come take their classes.   A Physical Therapist wants you to do physical therapy :))……and a surgeon makes her money by doing surgery!!  There are surgeons who will try conservative treatment first but if a surgeon believes the only fix is surgery (and many do believe that only they can fix you) then they will tell you that you need surgery.  But guess what…YOU HAVE A CHOICE!   You can decide what is best for you. Don’t be feared into thinking that you can’t wait to take the time to do your research first.  Do you homework and get second, third and fourth opinions and seek out different health care providers to advise you.  There are very clear signs when elective surgery is indicated.


So what are they you ask?

One sign that a patient needs elective surgery is that they have constant, excruciating pain that can not be controlled with homeopathic treatments, herbs, diet/nutritional changes or medications.  A second sign is that pain has not beed reduced or abolished through persistent, conservative treatment such as Physical Therapy, Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture, or Personal training/Fitness/Wellness classes.  Often when you go to the surgeon they will order an X-ray or MRI.  Very often it is likely that they will find something on that film.  But that does not mean that the only way to heal and abolish your pain is through surgical intervention.   Also often times what is seen on the film is not the true source of your pain. What do I mean by that?  I mean that it is likely that when you picked up that heavy item and strained your back that the source your pain is muscular or joint related when the MRI your surgeon ordered may show there is a bulging disc.  Many of us having bulging discs and have no pain at all in our backs.  Why you say? Well as we get older our spine slowly degenerates and bulging can be a part of that.  So in essence a radiographic film can demonstrate structural abnormalities but these findings may not be the reason that you are in pain.  Now …this is not to say that surgery is never an option.  Some of my best friends are surgeons and there are times when surgery is the only option based on a specific injury.  Boy am I glad for the hands of a surgeon who can fix a problem no one else can!!   But my point is this…friends YOU HAVE A CHOICE!  If you choose physical therapy you know where to find me!  424-337-1980.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out and I will do my best guide you!

2 thoughts on “Is Surgery My Only Option?

  1. acudocnc says:

    Thank you for pointing out that this patient has a choice. When a person goes to a doctor of any variety, it is that doctor’s responsibility to follow the Hippocratic Oath and `First Do No Harm`. Surgery carries with it an enormous burden of physical rehabilitation and financial cost which is harmful to the patient- it should be seen as a last resort and then only for the most burdensome health concerns. We doctors are trusted to do no harm- lets live up to that oath.


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