Does your doctor believe you? How to find one who does.
Does your healthcare provider take the time to listen? Do you feel more like an inconvenience than a client? And when you share your symptoms and concerns, does your doctor believe you? You need to learn how to find one who does.
The relationship between a client/patient and a healthcare provider must be built on mutual respect and trust. A doctor sees many people throughout an average day. But you are the one and only you. And your health and well-being should not be compromised because a doctor is busy, distracted, or just plain disinterested,
Nerve sensitization is a condition where the nerves become over-sensitive, leading to a wide range of symptoms. Chronic pain—in the neck, stomach, and back—debilitating headaches, bladder issues, digestive problems (including irritable bowel syndrome), and fibromyalgia can all be associated with nerve sensitization. The challenge with getting it diagnosed and treated correctly is that nerve sensitization doesn’t show up on conventional medical imaging, like x-rays or MRIs. Even the sharpest medical expert can’t point out where a neuron is in a highly charged state.
In my book Sunbreak (fall 2023), I share the process and tools I found helpful in healing chronic headaches, chronic back pain, and other nerve sensitization disorders. Sunbreak explains the path to healing through understanding sensitization, building the mind-body connection, and use of effective therapies.
No, it’s not all in your head.
Have you ever explained your intense, chronic pain to a doctor, friend, co-worker, or family member, and then noticed the look of doubt on their face? Without a “valid” diagnosis, they don’t believe you.
“It can’t be that bad if the tests don’t show anything wrong.”
“I think you’re being overly dramatic.”
Does it make you feel like, “It’s all in your head.”
Without having the understanding and support of people around you, you feel isolated and hopeless.
How do you get help with nerve sensitization?
Your return to wellness starts when you find the right doctor, one who understands the condition and knows how to help you. You need to be in the care of someone who believes that what you are experiencing is very, very real.
Nerve sensitization is a complex condition. You need a practitioner who asks the right questions, understands the signs, and knows how to treat nerve sensitization.
Use this checklist to gain confidence you’ve found the right doctor.
- Considers the whole body. These are system-wide disorders. The right provider has you fill out a pain map, a visual of where all the pain is that shows they are considering the whole picture and not too narrowly focused.
- Asks about your non-pain symptoms that are commonly associated with nerve sensitization, including fatigue, brain fog, and sleep issues.
- Evaluates your mental health, including a history of abuse or trauma, because they know these issues may contribute to the condition.
- Actually examines you to get a better perspective on your physical being.
- Discusses the impact of stress, sleep, and exercise, understanding that many factors affect your symptoms.
- Tailors a treatment specifically to you, not just according to a one-size-fits-all algorithm.
- Focuses on guiding you back to health—back to the activities you enjoy.
- Asks about your activity—work, hobbies, and habits, which are key metrics for improvement with sensitization disorders.
- Promotes realistic expectations, a reflection of an honest professional who understand the complex nature of nerve sensitization.
- Maintains a network of associated providers to allow for other treatments, such as psychologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists.
- Understands the appropriate medications that are useful in treating sensitization, such as medications specific to the nervous system.
The right provider for nerve sensitization ticks every item on this list. I know it can be challenging to search for a healthcare provider, but you owe it to yourself to keep looking until you find the right doctor.
Visit AskDrShana.com to learn more about nerve sensitization, including how to diagnose and effectively treat it.