A Sad Reality for So Many With Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome
Nearly every day in clinical practice patients report to us (one way or another), “My doctor doesn’t listen to me!” This concern is far more prevalent in those suffering the effects of concussion and post-concussion syndrome. The same sentiment is often offered when it comes to how their family and friends act.
There are several theories as to why many doctors don’t take the time to listen. You can explore these at length with a simple internet search. Here, I will explore briefly some of the better know reasons and, more importantly, what I have come to see is the real truth behind why so many are being ignored. And, in many cases, being dismissed and belittled by their trusted health care providers.
What the Studies Show
- Time. Most primary care physicians are pressured by the demands of heavy patient loads and declining insurance reimbursement. That leaves you as the patient at the mercy of a provider that may only give you one minute or less to voice your concerns. For those of you with concussion there are often far too many to list!
- Distraction. Electronic records, insurance forms, mobile devices, and excessive patient volume can cause doctors to get caught up in things that are not right in front of them. That is you, the patient. If a doctor is distracted, they will not do a great job at listening.
- Bias. Many doctors spend less time with individuals based on their race, gender, and other factors such as socioeconomic status. Also, patients that come in with recurring complaints are more likely to be dismissed or ignored.
I believe these are accurate (although unacceptable) reasons for many being short-changed when it comes to their provider’s attention. But, there are more accurate reasons doctors don’t do a great job of listening when it comes to the laundry list of struggles that can accompany concussion and post-concussion syndrome.
The Rest of the Story
- Ignorance. This may seem like a harsh term to many (particularly the doctors). What it simply means is that most primary care providers lack the knowledge and information necessary to properly question, screen, and refer for these types of injuries.
- Invisible. Concussions are not seen on CT scans or found in blood work. These are silent injuries that result in functional problems with balance, vision, cognitive abilities, emotions, and more. Conventional medical approaches are not well suited for these conditions. Therefore, doctors are less inclined to listen to problems they cannot treat.
- Overwhelming. The number of symptoms and conditions that can result from a hit to the head are staggering (we’ve compiled a list of over 50!). Your doctor, when presented with 5, 10, or more complaints, may focus only on 1 or 2 as this is what they are accustomed to.
- Unknown. Even with all the attention given to concussion over the past several years in sports, the media, and movies; this is still uncharted territory for most providers in mainstream medicine. The challenge is, this is most common route taken when one has a concussion.
So, How Do I Get Someone to Listen (and, how do I get help!)
The internet is full of strategies to get your provider to listen better to you. This, however, is not the focus of this article. And, it will not serve you well to try and get those that do not understand concussion to listen to you! You need to seek out the services of a qualified functional neurologist (most often a chiropractic neurologist) who is well versed in the art of listening, and, who understands the multitude of symptoms those with concussion and post-concussion syndrome experience. Only then will you be able to find answers as to what the best method of treatment will be for you. Concussions are real, and so are the symptoms and the solutions!