Do you have an ache or pain that has been bothering you for some time? Are you waiting for it to go away on its own? Have you thought you could manage it alone? Have you gone to Dr. Google looking for help? We are probably all guilty of this...typing words into a search engine looking for an answer to what is wrong with us and how to fix it. We end up reading through multiple sites all giving similar but somewhat confusing answers and are given a dizzying amount of information. Harmless, right? Maybe...but there is now a term to describe the feelings that go along with the practice.
Cyberchondria is the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on review of search results and literature online. Articles in popular media position cyberchondria anywhere from temporary neurotic excess to adjunct hypochondria. We all likely fit in there somewhere at one point or another. It is a first world problem indeed. We now have access to so much healthcare information but are not always able to understand or comprehend what we are reading. Often we may worry our symptoms are worse than they are. We may believe through our research that we know what is wrong with us and then head off to see the doctor....
This picture is a tongue and cheek example of what I am discussing. Patients are now armed with information before setting foot inside the doctor’s office. The above picture made me laugh. The fact it exists tells me we may need to exercise caution if we decide to request treatment when we assume what is wrong with us.
Our doctor for example will recommend what antibiotic to take for a bacterial infection rather than take a patients suggestion based on an Internet search. The doctor will assess you and determine the best course of action. That treatment may vary between doctors but the end goal will be the same - to achieve your best health outcome. I believe the same is true for other healthcare professionals. If in doubt discussing your concerns with a healthcare professional may ease your mind and set your worries to rest. If that ache or pain is just not going away, make an appointment to see a physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists are body experts. Physiotherapy promotes overall health and wellness, prevents disease, injury and disability. An assessment by a registered physiotherapist will take into account your musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory and cardiovascular systems; provide a diagnosis and work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Sometimes a few specific exercises, tips to improve posture are all you need to get rid of the ache in your back.
Inevitably more information is good and becoming more educated will likely lead to better health outcomes for all. So should we be going to Dr. Google for help when we need it? I think it is a tool that has value and healthcare professionals can help those searching by providing correct terminology or providing up to date websites with accurate information for patients. We all have to be mindful of the power of information. We also need to know when to look to others for a helping hand so we can keep moving and stay active in our own lives.
By Adrienne Sankey