Tuesday 9 October 2018

What To Do When Your Therapists Disagree?

Incredibly often, I have clients that come in my door after having seen other practitioners that gave them advice and assessments that I completely disagree with. Maybe I think the pain is shoulder-related, but someone else is convinced it's all in the neck. Well, I'll consider what the last guy said, give my two cents, but after doing my own examination, I'm likely to stick to my guns on what I, myself, can determine with my own hands and eyes. It's not my ego; it's me doing my job.

But wait! I understand that this might put you, as the client, in a bit of a sticky situation! What should you believe? If your Athletic Therapist, massage therapist, chiropractor, and even doctor all gave you different opinions, where are you to go from here? It's certainly hard to simply ignore what your last clinician said and replace your beliefs with what your current thinks on a whim.

Well, here's a few pieces of advice that you can keep in mind.

1) Be clear with what opinions you've been given.

One important thing I can suggest to potential clients is to not hold anything back with what's on their mind. It's helpful when you can tell your current practitioner what kind of examinations you've had done by other therapists, what they thought, what kind of treatments were done, and the resulting effects. It's perfectly reasonable that your past or present therapist missed something or happened to catch on to something that no one else did. It may help the practitioner to piece the own assessment and their own into a larger picture.

Are your past assessments and treatments a bit hazy to you? Well, some clinics may charge a fee, but law otherwise dictates that you are entitled to a copy of all of your records.

2) Be honest with your doubts.

If you verbally agree with a therapist but, in reality, doubt that what they have to say is true, then you're not helping either one of you. At the end of the day, it's your body, and it will help your situation more if the therapist understands that you're not buying in to their opinion. This should give your therapist either an opportunity to thoroughly educate you to understand better or prompt them to dig a bit deeper to see if there's anything else that was missed.

3) Understand that therapists can be wrong.

No professional is flawless. Like anyone working in any job, errors may occur, things can be missed, and incorrect opinions can be made. Please try not to negatively judge your practitioner too quickly if you think they erred. In fact, if they admit to doing so, then that's the sign of a thoughtful therapist who will continue to try harder!

4) Understand that multiple therapist can be right!

So I think it's your shoulder. Someone else thought it was your neck. Where do we go from here? Well, maybe everyone was right all along! The body is a complex sack of meat and bones...and nerves, and blood vessels, and organs...you get the picture.

Cause-and-effect in the body is often hard to determine, and there's a chance that every practitioner that you've seen has been right to some extent. Oftentimes, the symptoms that someone feels can be caused by contributions from multiple areas of the body. In this case, you can continue to see both practitioners if they continue to compliment each other or choose your favourite as long as you're seeing results.

5) Question if there's financial incentive.

This is the point that I dislike having to bring up, but it's the reality of the world that we're in. Unethical clinicians do exist out there, and they may be thinking about their own well-being before yours.

Is the therapist who's the most adamant and assertive about their own opinion the one that's charging the most for the treatment or trying to book you into the most appointments? Could they be receiving kickback from other therapists for referrals? Are you part of an insurance claim that could prove to be very lucrative to someone's business?

Again, they're dreadful questions to have to ask, but they're important ones to keep in mind in order to protect yourself.

At the end of the day, pick the therapist who makes you feel the most comfortable and provides you the best results. Be wary of any subtext and read between the lines, but also trust that the majority of clinicians have your best interest at heart and are providing you with the best answers that they can.


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