Dr. Google
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2019 - 12:00am

What are the chances that you are, or have become a patient of Dr. Google, the most non-human “doctor” who’s always in, does not charge for consultation, is your in-house consultant and fountain of medical knowledge? Yes, most of us have consulted Dr. Google and his other associate Facebook MD who remains faceless but constantly floods social media with “medical know-how” on the most common or most popular modern day illnesses.

Sadly these two could very well be subjected to multiple cases of malpractice particularly misdiagnosis. The only reason they can’t be sued is because we are all part of the misdiagnosis. Take for instance “sciatica” which many people use to make their back problems sound more complicated or painful. Then there is “slip disc” or “herniated disc,” spinal compression, followed by carpal tunnel, and computer posture defects. If you are really and truly suffering from such medical conditions, you have my most sincere sympathies given how I have had an actual spinal surgery, have two vertebras fused and a host of backaches resulting from cut muscles and the surgery. But many people who’ve consulted Dr. Google and Facebook MD might be shocked that their current pain and suffering may not be “Sciatica,” a slipped disc, etc.

What I’ve noticed is the alarming number of people proclaiming they have a sciatic nerve problem, slipped disc, or chronic back pain. I suspect that all this has become over diagnosed because it’s easier for people to embrace having a medical condition than coming to terms that they have become weak. Yes WEAK physically especially those who’ve gone past the age of 50 or became senior citizens. What are the chances that many of us actually talk our doctors into agreeing that we are in pain, and sick? Media portrays “older people” as white haired people with special dietary and supplementary needs because we are old; our bones are brittle and low energy. A “Lolo” is someone with a grandchild, not someone who turned 50! That generalization is stupid and downright insulting! Shoot the copywriter! Society tells us to slow down, settle for walking as “exercise,” take it easy and get a driver. That, my friends is the sure-fire way of dying early or becoming “dead tired” because you did not do real exercise in order to have strength and energy.

I once used a “cane” for a year due to a back injury. After three doctors, the word was not much could be done except therapy. Even that didn’t work, so I decided to break myself all over. I started the painful journey of recovery with forced walking and combining it with OTC painkillers just before each walk. In the beginning all I could do was five minutes then went to 20 then 30 upwards. I actually reached a peak of 2.5 hours then moved on to core training at a nearby gym. Unfortunately the curse of the Beltrans; clogged arteries, put a stop to all that as I underwent a series of angioplasties and as expected I developed a problem with my sciatica! Or so I thought. I simply deteriorated by not going to the gym.

It was by sheer coincidence that my wife, Karen noticed a small sign near our home that said “Rehab Gym,” We’ve been meaning to go back to a gym but just could not reconcile joining those overly commercialized fitness centers that operate more like a house of multi-level marketing agents rather than fitness advocates. But because it was near the house, we decided to check out the place and ended up becoming regulars because the “functional” workout confirmed my suspicions and ideas. Instead of focusing on the “looks” or shape, our training coach Jane spent most of her time checking our posture, muscle definition and proportion, telling us that in many cases, neck pains and back pains is caused by an uneven pull or compensation of one muscle against its opposite or mirror. In my case my weak side is in my left waist and lower back because that’s where they cut me open to get the bone graft from my pelvic area. As a result, the right side countered or compensated making my right shoulder stoop and causing back pain. Many of our friends have discovered similar “maladjustments” in their body in the neck, shoulder, even feet. After a month or so most of them are “healed!”

I once read that if you have a weak ass or weak muscles in your buttocks you will most likely have a weak back the same way weak abs also equate to weak back. Yes your ass was once muscle not fat! Half of the initial exercises we did were aimed at strengthening our butts and only much later did we get to do exercises for the abs. A big difference in rehab gym is you must take things slow and easy but don’t worry it won’t be for long. We did mostly stretches for a week or so, but now I’m doing weights, pulling on heavy cords and bands and the likes. It’s a full range of motions that we are put through but it does not end up exhausting you for the rest of the day.  So before you consider giving up on your back or going for surgery, go find a friendly neighborhood rehab gym or coach and have your self, assessed. If you can do the gym, I suggest you do it daily and on a fixed hour and give your coach the right to hound you and haul your weak but to work!

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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