Concussion symptoms are the worst. You didn’t sign up for this, no one wrote you a book on how to handle it, and it wasn’t on your bucket list. So who should you see for treatment?
Questions like this are all over the place and far more common than we are led to believe. As providers, we can’t tell you how often people have asked us, “who should I see for my concussion symptoms?”
Our response: we don’t know!
There are many providers in the wild world of medicine. It’s always challenging to determine which would be a good fit for specific patients. This is true for patients dealing with concussion symptoms from concussions, brain injuries, and post-auto whiplash.
Here’s the kicker: Not all providers are created equally. Sadly, many patients have unfortunately and fortunately experienced this while managing their health crises.
Concussion symptoms and subsequent injuries to the brain and body aren’t simple to treat. In many cases, they go under-reported, mostly because patients are usually told to “wait it out” and “see what happens” with rest and sleep. And while this may be beneficial for some, it may be prolonging the inevitable for many.
Newer research on concussions has uncovered an interesting pattern: Individuals who resume a regular daily routine of low-impact aerobic exercise and physical activity are expected to recover from their injuries quicker. They also resume activities of daily living (ADL’s) faster than those who remain sedentary.
The problem is that there aren’t many providers, let alone patients, who are aware of this. High-level providers know the new and relevant research and share it with their patients.
So here are the top 3 things you should consider when finding a new provider for your concussion symptoms.
1.) Will This Provider Do A Consultation With Me Before Treatment?
While this may not always be possible, in our experience, a consultation is one of the best ways for providers to better understand a patient’s situation. We need to determine whether or not they’re a fit. Honesty is always the best policy for multiple reasons.
First, if a provider decides to take on your case, they should have adequate training in concussion symptoms. If they’re way over their head, they will be wasting your time, energy, and money. Not to mention blemishing their reputation due to their inability to treat you accordingly.
Can this happen, even in situations where the provider thinks they can help? Yes! Concussion symptoms aren’t always straightforward.
Progress over Perfection
But there’s a difference between being seen for days, weeks, months, and even years without making any progress or improvements versus a provider treating and making different attempts at therapy over a 30 or 60-day trial period. These require the decision to refer out to another medical professional. Trial and error are needed in determining clinical outcomes and efficacy, but it shouldn’t take much longer than 30 days to see if they’re the right fit for treatment.
Second, a referral to a highly qualified practitioner, regardless of whether or not they are in the same medical field, can be one of the best ways to build trust with a patient. We can’t tell you how often we’ve had to send patients out to other providers to get the help we couldn’t offer them… And it’s been worth it every time.
More importantly, that good karma always comes back around. Those patients truly trust our opinions and are willing to send other people our way because they know you will do the right thing for them, regardless of whether or not that occurs in our office or somewhere else.
Consultations are Key
Lastly, consultations are a great way to build trust with a potential provider and for you to vet whether or not you want to move forward with therapy. A simple phone call or video chat allows you the opportunity to see if you connect with the provider. This is one of the most important pieces of the healing journey because if you don’t trust your provider, you will not achieve the desired results you’re looking for. This can happen regardless of their clinical skillset. You can thank the lovely placebo effect for that!
Trust will always be a foundational factor in healing. Do your due diligence and choose wisely!
2.) Has This Provider Successfully Treated Concussion Symptoms Like Mine Before?
Intuitively, this makes complete sense–or it should! Would you hire someone to build your house who has never built a house before? Probably not! So why would you find a doctor who’s never treated concussion symptoms before?
Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should, for multiple reasons that we don’t have time to discuss.
The point of the statement is that you need to find someone who has experience working with concussions and has been successful at treating them. Yes, results and testimonials will always matter.
Case Studies Matter
You need to dive into their testimonials. Search on the web to educate yourself and find out how doctors usually treat concussion symptoms. And most importantly, make sure the provider you choose has specialized training in treating concussion symptoms.
This is crucial because many doctors will tell you they can treat everything under the sun. It’s completely false and deeply unfounded in the literature.
This is one of the reasons why we love neurology! Neurology is not a technique; It’s a philosophy and a critical thought process. At its core, it allows providers to understand the big picture of what’s happening and, more importantly, find ways to treat the source, not just the symptoms.
We can’t tell you how often we’ve seen patients with headaches and neck pain respond to individualized therapies tailored to them. We have patients who finally respond with specific visual therapy and vestibular maneuvers.
Symptoms don’t always dictate where the dysfunction occurs. Providers need to work together to find solutions to patients’ actual problems.
3.) Does This Provider Care? Do They Have My Best Interests in Mind?
Once again, we hope this doesn’t come as a shock to you. Still, we can’t tell you how often patients report feeling neglected, taken for granted, and unheard of by their providers.
When it comes down to it, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Finding a provider willing to be your advocate is worth their weight in gold. These providers should be willing to refer you out (if needed), spend time educating you, and ask you questions. And work to understand your situation at its deepest levels truly.
They will listen to what you have to say and be present while you’re together. Providers with integrity will let you speak and be heard.
They will show their true intentions through actions, not just words. And they will follow up on documentation, correspondence, and speaking to other providers, as promised.
Healthcare should be a team sport, but it often turns out to be played as a single-player game.
As previously mentioned, your provider should not hesitate to refer you for a second or third opinion if you aren’t making progress.
A referral could be the best thing to happen to both parties. It allows you, the patient, to find the care you deserve while building confidence in the referring provider to make the right decision and have your best interests in mind.
Don’t let this happen to you; You must be your own advocate and keep your providers honest.
Where Can I Turn Next?
There’s a reason you’re reading this blog post; You’re still searching for answers. And we hope you’ve been able to find some by reading through this article.
As you can tell, there is no “single answer” to questions like these, which makes navigating healthcare difficult and frustrating. Only you can decide to take action and find a path moving forward, but you shouldn’t have to do it alone.
We would love to talk with you to see if we can help you…
We will always be the first to let you know if we can help you… and we also will be the first to let you know if we think we can’t, and if we can’t, we will find someone else who can!