Health Care Providers Aren’t Mechanics & You Aren’t a Car

I can’t count the number of times someone has told me — or I have said — “I just want a doctor/naturopath/acupuncturist/whomever to fix me.” Unfortunately, health care providers aren’t mechanics and bodies aren’t machines.

I stopped letting myself think that they were a few years ago, but seeing an example on my own body always refreshes the lesson. As soon as the massage therapist I saw this morning finished working around my left shoulder blade and switched to the right, my left arm and hand started tingling.

She moved my left arm around and massaged different spots to see which ones intensified or reduced the tingling in my arm. The culprit was deep into my left armpit and chest.

The sensations I felt today weren’t all that unusual, nor would any health care provider be hard pressed to figure out what was happening (I hope!). Still, I was reminded of the complexity of each person’s body and that none of us are identical.

These differences aren’t all inherent in your body, either. There’s the structural wear and tear, but your chemistry and neurology also change over time. It’s impossible to determine all the factors that contribute to each person’s headache disorder or what triggers individual migraine or headache episodes.

Health care providers have to compare existing knowledge from research to what patients tell them and what the physical exam and test results show. Given the incomplete knowledge and how everyone’s body differs, it’s clear that there’s no easy fix.

If you don’t respond to the first treatment — or two or five — that you try, don’t despair. You aren’t a car, but health care provider can still piece together an effective treatment for you. Very, very few of us are truly treatment resistant.