The Internet is a Dangerous Place

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The internet is full of amazing information.  I’m not sure how I got through life without it.  There are tons of sites on the internet that offer free medical advice and many of them offer home treatments for musculoskeletal problems.  What kinds of exercises you should do for your pain, injury, weakness.  What type of treatment approach you can try for your persistent aches and pains.  I see this most frequently with foot and ankle pain.  This might be because we are always on our feet and there’s not much we can do to give them a break when they hurt.  People’s desperation for a fix makes them more likely to try anything.

I recently had a patient who had “tried everything”.  She was convinced there was nothing I could do for her because she had already gone to multiple physical therapy sites on the internet.  When she listed off everything she was trying, I cringed.  Although the exercises she was doing may have been helpful at some point in her recovery, they were doing her a significant amount of harm in her current state of severe constant pain.

The problem with seeking out advice on the internet is that you never receive a thorough evaluation of the problem.  You need a skilled provider to assess and diagnose the problem and provide adequate education.  Just because a treatment worked for your sister, your friend, or your neighbor does not mean it’s the right treatment for you.

So how is my patient doing?  The one who had “tried everything”?  She is significantly better now that she has received an evaluation, but most importantly the proper education.  She now understands where she is in her recovery process, the importance of decreasing the load and stress on her tissue, and which exercises are best for her at this stage in her recovery.

If you have had pain for more than a few weeks and it’s not getting better, my advice to you is to seek out help from a professional.  The internet may not hold the answers.

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