Ever heard the phrase “The doctor who treats himself is a fool?” That old saying is even more true today. In this day of the internet people often look up their symptoms and then try to treat themselves. But when you attempt a self-diagnosis and then treat your own illnesses and injuries, your are at a great disadvantage when it comes to neuropathy. This is especially true when your symptoms indicate you may be dealing with something that could be serious. And, you will not know about these more serious indicators just by looking up simple ‘cures’ on line and from friends.
The internet has made it easy for us to research our own health issues and become educated patients. (Which, mind you, is a very good thing). But it has also made it easy with a self-diagnosis to misdiagnose and inaccurately treat ourselves.
What is Wrong With Self-Diagnosis?
That may not be dangerous with a common cold, but if you have (or think you have):
– Diabetic neuropathy
– Post-chemotherapy neuropathy
– Guillian-Barre Syndrome
– Peripheral neuropathy
You could be doing your body irreparable harm by not consulting a specialist. As your local NeuropathyDR® clinic, we can help with proper diagnosis and treatment. By researching and treating your own self-diagnosis, you are wasting valuable time. And when dealing with neuropathy or any condition that involves nerve damage, you don’t have time to waste.
The delay in obtaining proper medical treatment could make a small problem much, much worse. Once that window for early treatment is gone, you can never get it back. Treating on your own is an excellent example of being penny wise and pound foolish.
Here are just some of the things that can happen with self-diagnosis and treatment on your own:
- You could be wrong about the diagnosis and taking medications that you don’t need. That not only means that you’re not “curing” yourself, you could be making matters worse. As peripheral neuropathy pain specialists we often need to order a number of specialized tests. The tests are needed to determine as best as possible, what conditions are contributing to the patient’s peripheral neuropathy. The treatments are then individualized depending on the cause of the nerve damage. When it comes to treating nerve damage that can potentially worsen, a proper diagnosis is important.
- You could be right about the diagnosis but be taking the wrong medications or supplements. We have had patients who went online to learn about the supplements for neuropathy. They then purchased the nutrients on their own and were taking them. But, when they came to us for care, we found on their blood work that they had too much of some of the vitamins in their blood. Not only too little, but also too much of some vitamins can cause peripheral neuropathy! A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous.
- You could be right about the diagnosis but need nutrients in the appropriate strength to address your symptoms. We give our patients the dosages they need for their supplementation based on each person’s unique needs.
- You could be putting yourself at risk for serious drug interactions with other medicines you are taking (especially if you’re taking over the counter medicines without medical supervision). There are some common neuropathy supplements that are dangerous to take with certain medications such as thyroid medications. You need to know which supplements are OK to take with the medications you are on. We always check for drug interactions before giving our patients supplementation advice.
- You could be fixing one problem with over the counter medications but making another problem worse or even creating a new problem. (See #2 above).
- You could be missing the real cause of the problem – particularly in cases of neuropathy when you don’t have access to x-rays to determine if spinal or joint misalignments are causing or contributing to your problem. Or you would not know all the different tests needed to determine what may be causing your neuropathy. Even many primary care doctors do not know all the tests for common causes of peripheral neuropathy.
Keep in mind that even if you have a diagnosis of say diabetes, which everyone knows can cause peripheral neuropathy, we all have the right to have more than one problem going on at a time. Most of our patients actually have several conditions contributing to their peripheral nerve damage.
- Finally, you could be putting yourself at risk for serious nerve damage. There is no way you can determine if your nerves have been compromised without proper diagnostic testing.
What You Should Do Instead of Self-Diagnosis
By contacting your health care provider or us, your local NeuropathyDR® clinic, you can be appropriately tested. Once you know exactly what condition(s) you are dealing with and the extent of your nerve damage, if any, you can begin a guided and effective course of treatment. The sooner the better to lessen the chance of permanent nerve damage. Don’t make the mistake of self-diagnosis.
You Need to Seek Professional Care. Call us at 978-535-6155 to learn more.
For more information on coping with your peripheral neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.