I wasn't surprised by the research findings that the so typically British 'stiff upper lip' may deter patients from seeing their doctor, as they are too embarrassed to disclose their symptoms or fear that they may be 'wasting the doctor's time'. These findings, part of a more lengthy study published in the British Journal of Cancer, may go some way to explain the surprisingly lower than expected cancer survival rates in the UK, when compared with other developed nations, despite access to highly trained medical staff and cutting-edge treatment interventions.
A survey of nearly 20,000 people in the developed countries of UK, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Sweden revealed that one sixth of British men and women over the age of 50 were embarrassed to share their symptoms with their doctor, and a third were reluctant to visit for fear of being 'time wasters'. This could delay diagnosis and hence commencement of treatment - and early intervention is often the most critical factor in a successful outcome for the treatment of many cancers.
Fortunately, since we chiropractors primarily deal with problems affecting the musculoskeletal system, rarely do people present with cancers, or symptoms that might lead me to suspect anything more sinister. However, I am all too familiar with people's reluctance to disclose potentially important information that might help me to make the correct diagnosis and hence establish an appropriate treatment plan. All too often they might think that something in their history isn't relevant to their particular, current problem, or they might feel a little embarrassed or awkward about discussing things with me. However, I would urge all patients to provide me with as much information as possible - every consultation is totally confidential and we aim to provide you with a comfortable, relaxed, private environment. There isn't much that shocks me, and chances are, I've probably heard or seen similar before!
Whilst we chiropractors mainly treat the joints, muscles, nerves and soft tissues, we spend many years at University studying all the medical sciences, so we are trained to recognise and diagnose all sorts of illnesses and problems, not just those affecting the musculoskeletal system. So, if I were to pick up on something that I thought wasn't within my scope of practice, I would refer you on to your GP, or appropriate healthcare professional for further investigation (obviously with your permission).
Personally, I'm just like everybody else; I still squirm with embarrassment and sit there, on my clammy hands, giggling like a nervous schoolgirl, when having to discuss even the most minor of ailments with my GP. I even worry that I'm wearing 'sensible' clothing when seeing my own chiropractor! I faff around, delay making the appointment, fidget in the waiting room - and then feel so much better once it's done!
So, be brave and grab the bull by the horns. If you're worried about something it is far better to deal with it sooner rather than later, and if it is something serious, the sooner you get help the better! At least you'll have a definite answer to what the problem is - and this has got to be preferable to the sleepless nights, worrying and wondering and imagining the worst...
I'm sometimes something of a procrastinator. I dither about making decisions, particularly those bigger ones that might have a lasting effect, either at home, or at the Llangefni Chiropractic Clinic. It's something that I'm sure we all do, but I found a brilliant little snippet that I'm trying to apply to all those unmade decisions:
Ask yourself these three questions:
1. What's the best thing that could happen?
2. What's the worst thing that could happen?
3. What's the most likely thing to happen?
If you can live with the worst thing that could happen, and the most likely thing to happen will help you to achieve the things that you want, then, decision made! Go for it.
However, if the worst thing that could happen is totally unacceptable and the most likely thing to happen isn't going to help much, then again, decision made. Don't do it!
So, for instance, with respect to the recent refurbishment of the Llangefni Chiropractic Clinic.
What's the best thing that could happen? The clinic will be refurbished, quickly and on schedule, with minimal disruption, and will look amazing, be more inviting for patients and a nicer place to work in.
What's the worst thing that could happen? The work will take ages and ages and maybe cause the clinic to be uninhabitable, in which case I'd have to find alternative premises.
What's the most likely thing to happen? The work will over-run a little, be noisy, dusty and disruptive but we'll cope with it, and in the long run the clinic will benefit from the facelift.
Whilst I wasn't actually the one that had to make the decision about the building work, I did ask myself these questions regularly over the past five months when I felt I couldn't put up with any more noise and dust! I'm pleased to report that the building work is now nearly finished, and the Llangefni Chiropractic Clinic is looking an awful lot better...
Eich Ceiropractydd yng Nghlinig Ceiropracteg Llangefnii