With this entry we’re going to begin a series of blogs about my experience as an alternative health care provider within the modern medical system. Here I will focus on misdiagnosis and treatment errors that I have recently witnessed. In my last stint at the clinic, in early September, there were 4 new cases that fell into this category. As we saw a total of 10 new patients in that 9-day period, a full 40% were either misdiagnosed or provided ineffective treatment. You may think this is a strong claim to make without a medical degree, but I’m assured that my take on the situation is correct because we have, in fact, been able to resolve these cases that have eluded many others.
Let’s start with Joe (not his real name), a 58-year-old man whose presenting problem was pain in his left knee accompanied by pain and discomfort in his left calf and foot. By the time he came to my office he had been dealing from this problem for about 2 years, had received 10 months of injections with Hyalgen for the osteoarthritis in the knee and was fitted with a knee brace (which was later suspected by various doctors as the being the cause of blood clots forming in his lungs). An ortheopedic surgeon had stated that the knee joint was “bone-on-bone”. It was suggested that in the near future Joe was looking at a total knee replacement to correct the problem. I saw him one time, did massage work on his knee and calf, and now these areas are feeling almost 100% better. I had him use a tennis ball to work out the tight muscles in his foot, which is now significantly improved as well. And this is not an isolated case.
It is disturbing to me how quickly expensive drugs and total knee replacements are being introduced to patients as the only solution, as opposed to more comprehensive testing and treatment. While I am very much in favor of appropriate medication and knee replacements (and hip replacements) when they are truly needed, I am concerned about the growing trend to offer these treatments as the de facto solution when alternative, less expensive, less invasive treatment is a perfectly viable option. At Dorfman Kinesiology it’s not that we’re trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to take the wheel and remind people it still works.
Another case was a 31-year-old woman, Mary (not her real name), who started having headaches when she was 13. Her symptoms had grown progressively more consistent and more intense. She described her headaches to me as a “hatchet in the side of my head”. The neurologist and other medical doctors told her “based on what our tests show, you’re fine. We don’t see any reason why you should be experiencing headaches.” And sure enough when she came to our office and we started addressing the head and musculature of the head in relation to the cranial bones, she had muscle tension, like a hatchet, more than I have ever seen. Basically she had a knot over half of her head. For me, the cause of the problem and the solution were obvious and we naturally addressed that chronic tension. From the AMA standpoint, however, that tension can’t exist because it can’t be seen with an x-ray or CAT scan or MRI. Yet, when the tension was addressed in my office Mary got the first lasting relief she’s had in 17 years. Her husband started crying. And not only because the pain had abated, but because someone had actually validated that there was a physical reason why she was having these headaches and they weren’t just in her mind. It was a tremendous relief.
The next individual is a 50-year-old man named John (not his real name) who had injured a hamstring 3 months earlier. The hamstring had been slightly problematic. On the recommendation of his doctor John went to see a physical therapist (PT). Recently PTs have started to include more stretching, yoga and pilates into their their procedures and this is the route they took with him. John, however, is very athletic and very tight. In working with such individuals it is important to go very slow and easy, stretching only far enough to feel the initial tension in the stretch. But instead of offering appropriate stretches for John’s degree of injury and flexibility, the PT leveraged on him and busted his hamstring. While John was on his back with his injured leg in the air, the PT pushed his leg toward his head to force a deeper stretch and busted his hamstring.
This case reminds me of an article I wrote a few years ago for Triathlete magazine called Turn on the Off Season, in which I state that an athlete should never get hurt while stretching. (To read the article, click on this link to Active.com where the piece was also published.) We shouldn’t be leaning on people. The idea that you should jump on someone who is very inflexible to help them heal is a complete misunderstanding of the right application of stretching.
Jane (not her real name), a 50-year-old woman, is another example of the success of an alternative health care perspective. She was in a car accident 15 years ago and although she’s had better days and worse days, there hasn’t been a time in a decade and a half when she hasn’t felt some of the effects of the trauma, mainly in her neck. In the last 4 years Jane’s physical condition had deteriorated significantly, despite regular medical attention. Then, she decided to get on a bumper car at an amusement park with her grandchild. Unfortunately, Jane was very vulnerable. She ended up with intense headaches and a complete inability to move her head, the acute symptoms that finally brought her to my clinic. Although she had seen a range of medical practitioners over the years no one was able to help her. They did tests and prescribed medications, but left her in an increasingly vulnerable position, because the root cause of the problem was never addressed.
The misalignment of Jane’s neck and head was obvious to me the first time I saw her. Jane’s alignment was skewed in the impact of the car accident. Then she likely began to compensate for the trauma to her upper body by holding her neck in a way to minimize the pain and discomfort suffered. This troublesome alignment was never addressed in all her years of treatment. Not once. In two appointments at Dorfman Kinesiology, however, we were able to give her a lot of relief and start her in a direction where she won’t be at such great risk if she ever misses a step somewhere, or wants to pick up her grandchild.
The care we offer at Dorfman Kinesiology is not rocket science, but rather a common sense, individualized approach that takes into account various components of the human system to bring balance to that which is out of balance. If you have concerns or questions about a diagnosis or treatment you have received from another health care provider, I am available to help. And always get a second opinion, whether at Dorfman Kinesiology or with another practitioner. Mistakes are too common in the modern medical system and your health and well-being are too precious not to take that extra step.