Reasons for Patients Not to Talk with Their Health Care Professional About Acupuncture
Over the years I have advised my patients to talk with their doctors when they do acupuncture treatments and, especially, when taking herbal medicine. Regardless of the opinion of the physician or other health care professionals, about acupuncture and herbal medicine (medicinal plants), they must be aware of all kinds of treatments that patients do.
Over the years I have noticed that my patients sometimes have difficulty in talking with their health care professionals, especially doctors, for various reasons. Contrary to what one would expect the fear of the reaction of the doctors is not the only factor that takes immense patients not refer their doctor that they are making other treatments.
Altogether I remember four main reasons that lead patients not to refer to their health care professionals that they do acupuncture treatments and/or herbal medicine:
1 – afraid of how the doctor might react
2 – need to feel understood and inability to cope with negative views
3 – the patient gives up the doctor for a particular health problem
4 – respect the patient and the doctor did not want him to think that their work is devalued
Fear of the reaction of the doctor
This is very common and affects mainly the medical profession. Many patients whose family doctors have the most inflammable temperament, tend to hide them that they make other treatments because they do not want to hear the rebuke of their doctor.
Generally, patients who can best handle this situation are those that have a more marked and decisive personality or have doctors that are easier to talk to.
Patients hate to feel the doctor’s disapproval. But worse is to feel attacked by the choices they made.
Need to feel understood and inability to cope with negative views
This is very common in patients with emotional problems like depression and low self-esteem. It affects not only the medical but any health professional and has to do with the patient’s need to feel better. The health care professional does not need to be aggressive. The mere assertion of a health professional, who does not find a credible particular type of treatment associated with the patient’s inability to deal with negative reviews diminish the probability of a patient to talk about other complementary or alternative treatments.
The patient gives up the doctor for a particular health problem
This factor arises in older patients with chronic problems for which western medicine is not effective and the doctor, over time, began to show a certain distance. On these cases, patients report conversations with doctors where they respond: “I can not do anything”, “this is the age … you have to endure it.”
The decisive factor is not the failure of medicine to treat the patient but the distance that the doctor has for the patient’s suffering. Often, when they advise patients to inform the family doctor that they are doing acupuncture treatments, I receive the reply: “What for? He does not even matter”or “He meets me in five minutes and did not help at all, I’ll not be saying anything … yet he will been bugging me.”
The patient complies with the doctor and does not want him to think that their work is devalued
This case happens to any health professional who can maintain a strong empathic relationship with the patient but at some point in treatment, the effectiveness of the treatment begins to be compromised. I recently had to treat a case of facial paralysis in which the patient refused to tell the physical therapist (physiotherapist) that she had done acupuncture for her problem (facial paralysis) because she didn’t want him to think that his work was not respected.
The patient responded well to physiotherapy treatments showing a great evolution to the end of the 1st month. However, at the end of the 1st month, the therapist began to notice that the mouth muscles do not respond as well so as the eye muscles (orbicularis oculi).
The patient began to make electric acupuncture for facial paralysis to treat these symptoms and the physical therapist noted differences in response with very good improvements. But never knew that the patient had a few sessions of acupuncture because this was the way the patient had to reward the dedication that the physiotherapist had dedicated to her.
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