The language we use as professionals is important. When I took my chiropractic oath in 1999, it was the “first do no harm” I believed to be most important. As I began practice I could hear myself speak about findings and I struggled in the beginning to translate findings like ‘degenerative disc disease‘ to the patient is a not-so-scary way.
Words can be quite intimidating especially when the terminology has hints of ‘degeneration’ and ‘disease’. But the words don’t have to be intimidating at all….keeping in mind that these diagnostic labels are just a collection of signs and symptoms.
Because degenerative disc disease is such a common finding in the human population, I wanted to help patients understand clearly conditions of the spine—without the ‘big medical word’ factor.
Radiologist agree that the most common x-ray, CT, or MRI finding is disc height loss when identifying a degenerative disc, or in other words, a compressed disc. Interestingly, we didn’t have a model that could show this simple radiological finding which is at the hallmark of degenerative disc. It is quite simply explained as a compressed disc and the models I’ve created can show this very easily. They can also show a patient how to lift and bend correctly in the drive to offer therapeutic strategies of internally inflamed structures.
There are many approaches doctors take when sharing clinical findings. One of the hallmarks of a no-so-good doctor is when they instill fear into the patient…some scaring them into ongoing and dependency care. Researchers are catching on to those types of doctors that are often more interested in filling their pockets. This term is nocebo ( I shall do harm) which is in opposition to the doctor’s intent to encourage the placebo.