Calling Dr. Google

Dr Google


Self diagnosis via Dr. Google.   We all do it.  Enter knee pain and it spits out 10 gazillion hits on every knee pathology known.  From known medical sites to personal blogs, to health care professionals websites.  

It’s shocking we have not all become hyperchondriacs as a result.  

I’ve had my run ins with medical conditions.  My most recent was road rash from crashing on my bicycle.  As a health care professional I know all the tell tale signs of infection.  My wounds didn’t check any of the boxes, but a couple of spots were healing a bit out of the norm.  They were closed but still displayed some signs of “fleshy” healing beneath the skin.  I, too, scoured the web for something similar.  Playing detective or MD.  You run into all kinds of stuff.  From flesh eating bacterial infection, to MRSA to its just healing slowly, or perhaps nothing.

I monitored my situation with some concern.  Eventually, I saw my internist just for peace of mind.  I wanted to make sure what I was observing matched his assessment.  I did my rotation through wound care in PT school.   It was one that I didn’t particularly care for.  He concurred.   Best money spent for peace of mind.  My wounds were just taking their sweet time healing.  

I know many people out there may go through this process but they stop just prior to actually going to a health care professional seeking their expert opinion.  Thinking, oh its gotta be this, all my symptoms match.  Meanwhile friends and family offer up their anecdotal experiences as how to appropriately treat and manage the issue.  

The one thing lacking is the appropriate medical background to differentially diagnose what the issue/condition could be.  Health care professionals do this everyday.  All that education enables us to quickly and accurately assess someone’s condition.  We provide education on the condition, a treatment plan to care for it, and ultimately peace of mind so we aren’t losing our minds worrying or wondering, maybe it’s something really bad.

While Google has its place as an information portal, it should NOT take the place of a qualified health care professional.  Be it an MD, or a PT for most muscle and joint problems.  Leaving issues to “what if” may lead to something much worse if not properly assessed. 

Dr. Jamie So

Jamie So, PT, DPT, is the owner and physical therapist of Manual Therapy Effects.

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