Understanding Back Pain and Diagnosis Bias: Are You Being Lumped?

by coachz on December 1, 2009

The Truth About Back Pain and Diagnosis Bias!

Are You a Victim of Neck Pain, Back Pain, and Sciatica Diagnosis Bias?

Diagnosis bias is a real issue in the medical community, one not often discussed, openly or in private. In fact, diagnosis bias is one of those “dirty little secrets” only recently addressed; and then, only in closed door conferences and at a few of the more progressive medical schools in the country.

Chronic fatigue and chronic to chronically acute neck pain, back pain, and sciatica are among the most difficult conditions to diagnose and treat. A great deal of the reason, or reasons, for the difficulty in properly diagnosing and treating chronic pain and chronic fatigue, to include chronic neck pain, back pain, and sciatica is because while pain is a very real symptom of an underlying condition, and the underlying condition may be recognized and treatment initiated, it is also an abstract concept.

Pain as an Abstract Concept: Difficulties in Diagnosis and Treatment

When I state that pain is an abstract concept, I mean pain in any of its guises, in any and all of its manifestations, is as different from one person to the next as personality and/or fingerprints are. For this reason, and a myriad of others, neck pain, back pain, and sciatica create a number of challenges for medical practitioners, not only in the diagnosis phase but in subsequent treatment.

Value Attribution, Diagnosis Bias, Neck Pain, Back Pain, and Sciatic Nerve Pain (or Sciatica)

When dealing with neck pain, back pain, and sciatic nerve pain (sciatica) complaints doctors, like most people, will often make an initial assessment based on value attribution. Value attribution, in this instance at least, is a first impression of the medical kind! Unfortunately for the individual suffering from chronic fatigue or chronic neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica the medical practitioner will often stick to that attribution when making even a critical diagnosis, even in the face of contradictory evidence.

Value attribution and diagnosis bias occur for a myriad of reasons, most of all because doctors are human. Medical practitioners are subject and susceptible to the same biases and prejudices the rest of us are. Interestingly, this bias, once set in place, will often shape the medical practitioner’s future perception of a patient’s complaints, once again, even when confronted with contradictory evidence, and will shape the treatment received…or not received.

Value attribution and diagnosis bias are covered extensively, and quite well, by Brafman and Brafman in their book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior. I recommend it for anyone who would like to understand why we do the things we do and make the decisions me make…and are forced to live with. This book is particularly appropriate for anyone who feels he or she may have been a victim of diagnosis bias.

The Video, Chronically Acute Back Pain, and Diagnosis Bias

I have first hand knowledge of diagnosis bias as it applies to neck pain, back pain, and sciatica and I discuss the situation and its eventual outcome in the video below. It should be an eye-opener for many, for others living through it at this time, it may give you what you need to press on and fight back, fight against the diagnosis bias that nearly took my life and ultimately robs many neck pain, back pain, and sciatica sufferers every year of the life they could have if only someone took them seriously…or just took them differently!

Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Empathy, and Abstraction

In fighting chronic fatigue, and chronic pain, one very often goes through the same battles to be heard and taken seriously. Many times even friends and relatives just don’t understand. How could they, pain is such an abstraction and if they have never experienced it themselves? Again, how could they!

Given the above, one would still hope the medical community, and particularly specialists trained to deal with chronic fatigue and chronic neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica would be somewhat immune from value attribution and diagnosis bias. Yet we know that, in fact, some are and some aren’t!

The Good, The Bad, and The Misdiagnosis

Just as there are good physicians and bad ones, there are good chefs and terrible ones, there are good pilots and bad ones…and they all make mistakes. The trick here is to not allow others to lump you into a category before an adequate diagnosis has been made. Whether the condition is a chronic one, one that is chronic and acute or
is relatively new and still very much in the acute phase, do not allow your medical pracitioner to make an attribution, a diagnosis, based on a bias and without all the facts. As stated above, pain in any and all of its guises is a symptom and it is their task to uncover the cause and treat it effectively.

Do Not Take No for an Answer!

And do not take “I don’t know” for an answer! Press on until someone, somewhere provides you with a legitimate diagnosis and the quality care you deserve, care we all deserve. There is a life on the other side of any chronic fatigue and/or pain condition, do not allow anyone to rob you of even one day of your life…much less your life in total, as almost happened to me!

Best wishes in health!


Professor John P. J. Zajaros., Sr., The Bad Back Guy
216-539-7412 (bus)
Skype: johnzajaros1

PS, If you would like to take matters into your own hands and grab control of your life? If you would like to achieve a neck pain, back pain, and sciatica free life? Simply click here and you will be on you way, one step closer to neck pain, back pain, and sciatica relief…once and for all!

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