What to do when Doctors Disagree

Category: Surgeons | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 11, 2015

disagreeing doctorsPreviously, we talked about issues of misdiagnosis when it comes to spine care. In that article we advocated for seeking a second opinion if you are concerned about a misdiagnosis or if you are weighing your treatment options. But what if you get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion and the doctors disagree on your diagnosis or optimal treatment options? This is a difficult situation to find yourself in, but we’ve got some tips for you. This blog will be all about what to do when doctors disagree.

Why do Doctors Disagree?

Medicine is not always an exact science. While there is not much debate about the best treatments for the common cold, treatment options for back pain and spine conditions vary widely and physicians in different specialties often have differing views on how to best treat the injury or condition at hand. For example, an interventional pain physician may heavily advocate for injection therapy, while an orthopedic spine surgeon may tell you to have surgery to for long-term pain relief.

So what should you do when several doctors tell you different things about your condition and treatment?

What to do with Conflicting Recommendations

Trust is an incredibly important and sometimes overlooked aspect of medicine. There has to be trust between doctor and patient. If you have received several different diagnoses about your condition, or several different recommendations for treatment, the best piece of advice is to make sure you trust the doctor who’s giving your advice. You are more likely to trust the opinion of a physician you’ve known for years than a doctor you just met. That’s not to say that new physicians you see are untrustworthy, but make sure any new doctors you’re seeing are experienced, and well-recommended by their peers and patients.

Ultimately you are the only one who can make decisions about your care. Listen to and weigh the various medical advice you receive and make the best informed decision you can.

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