* * Anonymous Doc

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's interesting when patients have questions that sort of seem crazy at first, but then actually make a little bit sense. Or at least I see where they're coming from.

"I have a question about my back pain. Is it hurting the rest of my body?"

"Excuse me?"

"Is my back pain affecting my organs?"


"So having back pain isn't causing my heart to have to work too hard?"


"Or my lungs to get distracted?"


"My back isn't causing less blood to flow to my penis?"


"How about my arms and legs? Is my back pain hurting those? Are they going to get weaker because all of my strength needs to be used for my back?"


"And my kidneys and livers are going to be okay?"

"Yes. And it's just one liver."

"I find that I think less well while my back is hurting. Does that mean my back is hurting my brain?"

"No, it just means you're distracted by the pain, I expect. That's why we're going to try and figure out some pain medication that will relieve the discomfort."

"But it's not lowering my intelligence?"


"And it's not going to make my teeth fall out?"

"Why would back pain do that?"

"I don't know, it just seemed like maybe they were connected."

"Fortunately, they're not."

"Do you have any literature about back pain that I can read?"

"I'll see if I can print something out."

"Great. Thanks."


  1. Sometimes my clients (I'm a veterinarian) ask similar, weird (to me) questions. I love how you handled this.

    Now, the ones who believe everything they "learned" on wacko alternative medicine websites... much more challenging to find common ground.

  2. I was just linked from KevinMD, and I love this post. I can really relate from the patient's POV. I feel like I ask my doctor similarly odd/unfounded questions, just in case something click and a connection can be made.