Painful Neck/Healthy Neck: Corporate Medical Care and My Chronic Pain JourneyApr 29, 2022
Obviously, there are some things that are deeply, deeply flawed with corporate America. Let's talk specifically about the medical profession.
A bit of background. I have had severe, often debilitating, chronic neck and upper back pain for literally my entire life. Some of my earliest memories as a child are neck and back pain. The first thing I ever looked up on the Internet was "back pain."
While the mainstream medical profession does some things extremely well, helping with pain, particularly back and neck pain is absolutely not one of them.
I have managed to survive over the last 20 years by working intensively with yoga, posture, stress management, to pull some pain out of my back. I have also worked extensively with food, digestive healing, sugar handling balancing, and anti inflammatory tactics. I have explored body work, massage, chiropractor and more.
I have managed to create more ease than any doctor and my younger self would have ever imagined. I can sit at a desk, read a book, and more or less enjoy life without being constantly controlled by pain. That's a HUGE WIN.
And yet, ultimately, it keeps getting worse. Every so often, I'll find the best medical specialist around, make an appointment and see if they can help me. Once, the doctor told me, you seem anxious, and prescribed anti depressants and told me to never go off of them. I mean, YIKES! It was a failure to address the root cause of my anxiety and pain which was largely structural - and also very much inflammatory, alignment, nutrient needs and posture. I've been prescribed PT which never helps with my particular issues.
Yesterday I went to yet another specialist because I heard they were the BEST and I thought certainly gains have been made in the last 10 years since I'd seen a medical person about this. NOPE. Big nope. I was wrong. He told me nothing can be done and I was in for further degeneration and more pain until it was time for surgery (which would NOT yield great outcomes either). He offered some pain management options without any perspective of healing or resolving the underlying reasons why this was all happening in my neck. I left crying, which is very typical.
Here's the thing - I have a high level understanding about how to assess the drivers of health problems. I have a high level understanding about all kinds of strategies to heal ourselves and reduce chronic pain. I will continue to do all the functional practices that I do and I will be ok enough - but I think about ALL the people who have no idea about this side of the work - this side of the possibility - who listen only to doctors and leave crying (or addicted to pain meds) and so much more hopeless than I am because they have nowhere else to turn. People believe the doctor knows ALL. Doctors believe doctors know all.
Here's the thing about the corporate control of the medical profession. They don't offer a way to get to know the doctor before meeting with them. They just sign you up. Had I had a chance for a 15 minute phone call with this doc, had he taken a peak at my xrays before I was in his office, and been willing to have a chat about it, I would have clearly understood he was not worth my time. He just wasn't going to have any advice for me.
In my profession, we do all kinds of things so people can get to know us first - social media, webinars, posting videos, podcast interviews... free short phone calls, an initial VIRTUAL consultation.
Doctors don't do that typically and so you just have to show up and see how it goes. What a HUGE waste of everyone's time and money. Insurance company's pay it and the costs are astronomical for minimal support.
the corporate medical patriarchy is so entrenched that, like all corporate cultures and all patriarchy cultures, it utterly fails to ask itself hard questions, to be curious, to change, to grow, to evolve, to QUESTION ITSELF and its practices, to move outside of its own box, to gain perspective...
There's a better way and in it includes conversation, talking, getting to know each other before we dive into this intense relationship between patient and "healer."
That said, I do find the medical perspective helpful - with myself and my clients. It offers just a basic foundation of what they think it is. From there, we functional practitioners, we healers, we curious and loving support systems can take it from there.
Liz's neck on the left, healthy neck on the right