Symptoms: Why it may seem like your Doctor is not listening

A long time member of our practice asked me the other day, “Why don’t you ask me where it hurts before you adjust me?” This is not the first time I have heard this and maybe you have had this thought yourself. The doctor comes into the adjusting room, says hi and starts checking my spine. They don’t usually ask, ‘How are you doing? And for some that might seem weird or even rude.

The answer to that question is quite simple. Symptoms are not a good indicator of where the problem is. For example, one of the first signs of a heart attack is pain in the left arm. If we were using pain as our compass to direct us to the primary problem we would think the issue is in the left arm, when in actual fact it is in the heart. And on the other side of the coin, usually heart disease produces no symptoms until a heart attack is in process, many being fatal. So, just because we look and feel good or have no symptoms, does not mean we are healthy. Which is why it is important to have a check up even if you are feeling good!

So back to the question, how does this relate to my symptoms doc? Well, what we do is break problems down into primary and secondary issues. Often symptoms are secondary to an underlying primary issue. For example, headaches could be caused primarily by nerve disturbance in the upper neck, which is causing secondary symptoms of tight muscles, poor range of motion and headaches. If we just focused on where the pain was in your head, then we might have ended up like early medical practitioners and cut holes in your skull to release what felt like pressure on your brain!

So next time your doctor doesn’t ask how you are doing, don’t be offended. They reserve questions like that for times when they know you are suffering or under a lot of stress. They have no problem listening to your symptoms, they like to know when you are doing good or bad, they might even link how your secondary problems relate to the nervous system or spine. But symptoms or a lack thereof will not change what they do; what they do is based on what your body is telling them.

Please let us know if you have any other questions because we would love to answer them it in one of our articles. Leave us a comment or send us an email.