We hear this every day. “I’ve got a back ache.” Someone else replies, “Have you tried leg lifts?” or “Do sit ups.” or “Try heat” (or cold) or any number of other options. And many people will try them… all…one after the other. Until the problem is fixed, goes away or gets worse. Through the decades, I have received far too many patients as the result of well meaning, but totally inappropriate health care recommendations.
This scenario is repeated over and over again for almost every imaginable condition. “I’ve got x” and “Try Y, it worked for me.” Unfortunately (or fortunately), everybody is different, and the causes for one person’s health condition can be very different for the next.
This pattern is skipping the critically important step. Asking the question “Why?” Why do I have condition X? Until that question is answered, every therapy is a matter of trial and error. You might even try the correct therapy, but stop too soon because you didn’t understand what was causing the problem, how extensive it was and how long you needed to keep doing it.
This situation of starting therapies before the cause is known is not limited to the public. Health care providers frequently skip asking the question ‘why’ before starting therapy. This does not mean in emergency situations you shouldn’t do whatever you can to try to keep somebody alive until you have the time to figure out in more detail what went wrong. It’s always important to balance the time available for your diagnosis strategy and when treatment needs to begin.
On the other hand, all too often, diagnosing for the cause is never looked for or is inappropriately dismissed with the phrase “the cause is not known”. There are many times I have heard this phrase used for conditions I, my father and grand uncle have checked the scientific literature for and found reliable therapies that we have used to treat and cure so called idiopathic conditions. A more appropriate phrase would be “I do not know what the cause is” or “I have not done a diagnostic workup to determine the cause of your health condition”.
The time period between when vitamin C was discovered to cure scurvy and it was in common usage was 200 years. How many people during those 200 years died because they were told, “The cause for scurvy is not known”? How many times was it because that therapist did not know of the connection, did not research for what was already known about the issue, ‘intentional blindness’ or worst yet, knew that there was a possible connection between condition X and treatment Y, but did not look in this specific patient.
There are thousands of diet methods, vitamins, drugs, exercises, emotional techniques, etc. etc. etc. The question we at the Diagnosis Foundation have is, “Of all the possible treatments for condition X that are available, how do I know if your particular recommendation is the one that I need to do? What is the test(s) that will answer the question that method Y is just the right one for me to do now.”
There are an incredible amount of valuable experience, knowledge and intelligence in the world. Most of you have great therapies that you have recommended at one time or another for some condition. Some of you know how to differentiate when your therapy is the perfect one to do, and when you should consider some other approach.
This is the information we want to know and help to inform others about.
How do you test that treatment X is the best thing to do for condition Y, above all the other potential therapies that are available?
Tell us your experience. We want to know!