You didn’t sign up for this, no one wrote you a book on how to handle it, and it definitely 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 a provider, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me “who should I see for my concussion symptoms?”
My response: I don’t know!
While there are plenty of providers out there in the wild world of medicine, it’s always difficult to figure out which ones would be a good fit for specific patients, especially for patients dealing with concussions, brain injuries, and post-auto whiplash.
Here’s the kicker: Not all providers are created equally, as I’m sure many patients have unfortunately and fortunately found through their experience managing their health crises.
Concussions and subsequent injuries to the brain and body aren’t simple to treat, and in many cases, 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 are able to resume a regular daily routine of low-impact aerobic exercise and physical activity are expected to recover from their injuries and 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.
Because of this conundrum, I think it’s wise to have a conversation about this disconnect to help those in need to find a solution to their health-related problems, especially when dealing with concussions.
Here are the top 3 things you should be thinking about when finding a new provider for your injuries.
1.) Will This Provider Do A Consultation With Me Prior To Treatment?
While this may not always be possible, in my experience, a consultation is one of the best ways for providers to get a better idea about a patient’s situation 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 and is in way over their head, they’re going to 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 prover thinks they can actually help? Yes!
But there’s a difference between a patient 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, eventually deciding to refer out to another medical professional. Trial and error are needed in some regard to determining clinical outcomes and efficacy, but it shouldn’t take much longer than 60 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. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to send patients out to other providers to get the help I couldn’t offer them… And it’s been worth it every time.
More importantly, that good karma always comes back around, as those patients truly trust your opinion and are willing to send other people your way because they know you will do the right thing for them, regardless of whether or not that occurs in your office or somewhere else.
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 or enjoy being in their company, you will not achieve the desired results you’re looking for, no matter what they know or can do clinically. You can thank the lovely placebo effect for that!
Trust will always be a foundational factor in healing, so do your due diligence and choose wisely!
2.) Has This Provider Successfully Treated Cases 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 concussions before?
Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should, for multiple reasons that we don’t have time to discuss at this time.
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.
You need to dive into their testimonials. Search on the web to educate yourself and find out how doctors usually treat concussions and similar symptoms. And most importantly, make sure the provider you choose has specialized training in treating concussions and the musculoskeletal injuries commonly acquired with brain injuries and post-auto whiplash.
This is crucial because there are a lot of doctors (yes, including chiropractors), who will tell you that they can treat anything and everything under the sun, which is completely false and deeply unfounded in the literature.
This is one of the reasons why I love neurology! Neurology is not a technique; It’s a philosophy and critical thought process. At its core, it allows providers to understand the big picture of what’s going on and more importantly, find ways to treat the source, not just the symptoms.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen patients with headaches and neck pain respond with positive results by doing visual therapy and vestibular maneuvers. Symptoms don’t always dictate where the dysfunction occurs, which is why providers need to work together to find solutions to patients’ true problems.
3.) Does This Provider Care? Do They Have My Best Interests in Mind?
Once again, I hope this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but I can’t tell you how many times patients state that they have felt neglected, taken for granted, and unheard 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 who is willing to be your advocate is worth their weight in gold, because they will be willing to refer you out (if needed), spend time educating, and ask you questions to truly understand your situation at its deepest levels.
They will listen to what you have to say and be present while you’re together.
They 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 have zero hesitations to refer you out for a second or even third opinion if you aren’t making progress or seeing the expected changes as initially planned for.
A referral could be the best thing to happen to both parties, as 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 I hope you’ve been able to find some by reading through this article.
As you can clearly tell, there is no “single answer” to questions like these, which is what makes navigating healthcare so 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 have a conversation 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!