Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Therapeutic nihilists, take heart


Gina Kolata, NYT, March 30, 2010, says it can be a toughie to decide whether your injury requires a doctor.

Some magazine (I heard) said the most important word you can tell your doctor is NO. And you readers know I am not big on running over to the doc for every little thing.

Kolata, in fact, calls this being a therapeutic nihilist—which I quite like, being a big fan of The Big Lebowski.

Many athletes, she notes, eschew the doc because they think doctors don’t know about sports or running injuries. They are afraid the doctor will say to stop running.

The doctor probably will say that.

When should you give in and go?

According to this, when you do not recover in the usual time. One man got knee pain after his usual 10-mile run. It goes away in a day. So he does not need a doctor unless it lingered say a week or more.

When it comes to sports injuries, doctors don’t have a huge range of approaches—they can’t really speed healing.

Scans and all those bells and whistles can find other alarming and perhaps harmless things.

MRIs cost a ton and can show the tiniest tears that aren’t bothering you—or MRIs can be inconclusive.

Often an experienced doctor will make you run or walk—not just hop on the table.

But many, the docs in this story said, don’t have a clue.

So wait it out—maybe let up on activities. Ask your friends. Don’t climb into the MRI tube if you don’t have to.

I had a bad shoulder once—had to put my bra on snapping in front, which is hard to do in the mirror—after 9 mos, it was better.

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