Over the last century, the modern physician has evolved from a general family doctor to a highly-educated specialist trained to use the latest technological advances to provide very specific, high-quality care. No single physician could possibly understand every modern treatment available for every disease state. While today’s primary care physicians (PCPs) know a lot of general medical information, they may not know the nuances of specific diseases or be well-versed in current treatment options.
Additionally, many primary care physicians are employed by healthcare institutions that require them to refer patients to specialist physicians in that institution’s network. What was once a comforting doctor-patient relationship has been too often transformed into an impersonal institution-patient relationship, which not only reduces trust but delays treatment to a seemingly endless degree.
The good news is patients have options. While many joke about diagnosing their problems online, the Internet is a powerful tool in finding the right independent specialist when you need it. No more back and forth with referral after referral after referral. No more delays. Most insurance carriers now allow patients to actively seek out specialist help themselves.
What has been outlined above is especially true for the treatment of spine-related pain. By all means, the patient who is seeking opioids for pain treatment should first approach his or her PCP. And, if the patient is looking for surgery to “fix” the problem, then a spine surgical consultation should be an early option. But, if an alternative to narcotics and surgery is desired, then a direct consultation by self-referral to Dr. Patrick Waring at the Pain Intervention Center may be your best option. Our patients usually have been referred by friends or family who have benefited from our non-narcotic, non-surgical solutions to their own spine pain.
If you are in pain, you should pick your specialist carefully. You can call us directly. You can book a consultation directly. Talk to your friends and family. Look online for reviews on trusted sites and social media. You have the power to educate yourself, seek out treatment options, and avoid being forced into the carousel of institutional care. Be your own healthcare advocate!
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