Issues of Misdiagnosis in Spine Care

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

misdiagnosisMedicine is not an exact science. It is an unfortunate reality that patients are sometimes misdiagnosed with (and subsequently treated for) the wrong condition. In this blog we will be talking about misdiagnosed conditions of the spine. Specifically, we’ll examine how misdiagnoses occur, a few of the more commonly misdiagnosed conditions, and what to do if you have been misdiagnosed.

Common Misdiagnosed Spinal Conditions

Misdiagnosis is a possibility with any medical condition or injury. The spine is an intricately complex structure and many conditions that impact the spine have very similar symptoms. On top of that, we are still learning about specific diseases, conditions, and treatment methods. As a result, a physician may mistake one condition for another and prescribe a course of ineffective course of treatment. Here are a few spinal conditions that can be misdiagnosed:

  • Spinal stenosis can be misdiagnosed as spinal arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis can be misdiagnosed as a number of conditions, such as a spinal tumor.
  • A bulging disc can be misdiagnosed as facet joint disease.

Unfortunately, patients are misdiagnosed on a regular basis. When a misdiagnosis occurs, the prescribed treatment may not effectively resolve the underlying condition. This can cause frustration and pain in the patient. But there are ways to prevent a misdiagnosis.

What to do if you are Misdiagnosed

If you have received a misdiagnosis, get a second opinion from another physician who specializes in orthopedic spine conditions. It’s often a good idea to get a second opinion even before you decide to go through with a procedure – this can help prevent a misdiagnosis. Ask your physician if they can recommend a trusted colleague for a second opinion. You can also Talk with your network of family and friends, and searching the internet for qualified, well-reviewed doctors in your area.


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