A healthy mind in a healthy body

Dealing with physical problems

Fixing what’s wrong, without creating new problems

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Even people who tend to neglect their health go to the doctor when they have an accident, a serious illness, or the onset of some chronically disabling or painful condition.

For most of us, there is a family doctor or a primary care physician who has seen us before – or if not, we find a doctor at the last minute, or we go to a walk-in clinic or an emergency room. These choices are mostly easy and automatic, and then we tend to rely on the familiar doctor, or on the clinic or ER staff, to recommend specialists (if we need them), followed by tests, medical procedures, and prescriptions.

Simply following this “path of least resistance” is rational enough. Medical professionals have years of difficult training and many have decades of experience. They know far more than we could ever hope to. At the same time, they are human and, on the one hand, are capable of error and bias and carelessness just like anyone else and, on the other hand, are completely incapable of knowing everything there is to know even about their own specialty, let alone all other areas of medicine.

Furthermore, the state of science today, marvelously impressive as it is, still has massive holes in it. What science and medicine do not yet understand about the human body (and the human brain) far outweighs what they do know. And even where there is accurate general knowledge, each of our bodies and brains is different from anyone else’s in important ways, and no doctor can fully understand our own unique differences from other patients. Try to imagine what civilization will know about medicine a thousand years from now, and how primitive today’s knowledge will appear by comparison. Unfortunately, we have to deal today with this “primitive” state.

So while it's a mistake for most of us to feel that we know more than our doctors do, it is equally a mistake to think that doctors have all the answers, or can’t create problems instead of solving them, at times. In light of this reality, just as it's a rational enough strategy to follow the medical professionals wherever they try to lead us, it's also rational enough to question them and to at least consider alternatives. In this section, we look at some of the more prudent times and ways of doing that.

Dealing with Physical Problems relates to other areas of Health:

Dealing with Physical Problems relates to other areas besides Health:

Dealing with Physical Problems Sub-Topics and Resources

We go to doctors and hospitals expecting to be made well, and usually that’s what happens, but sometimes things go terribly wrong. Doctors make mistakes, hospitals harbor infectious germs that are hard to kill, prescription drugs cause bad reactions or interact with one another in damaging ways.

Medical problems caused by doctors are termed “iatrogenic.” In the U.S., it is estimated that well over 100,000 deaths a year are iatrogenic in nature, and no one knows how many other non-fatal problems fall into the same category. How do you learn more about the dangers, and find the best available medical care options for yourself and your family?

If your needs for drugs, medical supplies and equipment are not covered by insurance, here are some places you can go to find what you need at good prices.