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Getting Better One Patient at a Time

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Getting Better One Patient at a Time
There’s so much to learn from patient care everyday. This encounter reminded me how much better we can be doing every single day.
Something interesting happened today which made me think about things a little differently. I was ultrasounding a patient’s hand and wrist, a new patient referred to me for various pains. One of the variables that is listed on the ultrasound machine is male or female. I have two ultrasound machines in the office, one that’s fairly new and another one that’s a few years older. An interesting thing that I noticed was that the only two designations that they have under genders are male and female, which you would traditionally expect. In this patient’s case he is transgender male. It’s interesting. I wouldn’t necessarily expect my ultrasound machine to have every single possible self identified gender designation, but it made me think about the field of medicine.
The practice of medicine is a very practical, humane science. You deal with people and their very real issues every single day. And yet we are always trying to catch up to what are the current social norms and issues of the day.
Frequently in our modern society, which is changing a lot faster than it has in centuries, we’re trying to play catch up a lot more than maybe we should be. This is one small example, but an example of where we can do better with patients. Maybe part of it is just recognizing it and saying, yeah maybe we could be better about this. But there’s a lot of those kind of occasions where I do sit back and think that this system could be better, more humane, and more respectful to people in general and certainly people with all of their differences and personalized needs.
As we go on as a society, the more that we can respect and recognize those kinds of differences, the better off we are serving people. And certainly the more personalized we can be when it comes to care, I think the better we are serving our individual patients as well.
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Cold Alert! Keep Exercising.

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Cold Alert! Keep Exercising.

It’s cold and snowy in the Midwest! What are you doing to stay physically active? Alter and adjust and keep moving forward.


The last two weeks here in Chicago it’s been incredibly cold, snowy and icy. If you’re like me, you may have a pretty regimented consistent exercise regimen that you do day in, day out. Every day that I commute to work, I see a whole lot of people who are cycling to work as well. Obviously with the cold weather, not too many cyclists are on the road now.
I can imagine that as change occurs it throws off your normal workout regimen. I know for me if I go on vacation or take a couple of days off, it really throws things off. With the weather change it’s a really great opportunity to reassess and redo how you decide to work out for the winter time. You can look at change as a negative that throws things off and you can’t get back to your normal routine. Or you can look at change as an opportunity to reset and redo what your doing, which is good for your health, body, and mindset. Exercise that stresses your body in different ways is healthy and prodcutive.

In my case, I really enjoy swimming. Fortunately the gym that I belong to has an indoor pool and for the next few months I plan to get into a swimming routine that will help to stress my body in different ways, let me change up my exercise in a positive way, and allow me to continue to stay physically active during the winter.

So while it’s super cold and challenging right now here in the Midwest, it’s also a really great opportunity to change, adapt, and continue to grow.

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More from Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine:
Blog: www.ChicagoArthritis.com/blog
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Treatment of Pain requires more than just a pain medication prescription

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Treatment of Pain requires more than just a pain medication prescription.

For most people, the solution for pain should not be to just take a pain medication. There’s a deeper and more thoughtful approach figuring out what’s wrong, and devising a plan to help improve the situation.

I saw an interesting patient recently that connects key musculoskeletal wellness issues. My patient is a 32-year-old woman, new patient to me, she has various aches and pains mainly in her shoulders and left wrist. So there are few things in her history that require some additional discussion.

The first is, it turns out she’s been using a medication called Arcoxia. I’ve never even heard of this medication so I had to google this, and it turns out it’s another name for the medication Vioxx. Vioxx has not been sold in the United States for a number of years. In large part because of significant rates of higher risks of heart disease. In addition this class of medication also has potential kidney and liver toxicity side effects as well.

Vioxx has been pulled from the United States market several years ago, but my patient received this medication through her parents who live in Israel. When you look up Vioxx, you realize that this medication while no longer sold in the United States is sold throughout the rest of the world. That’s really interesting that a medication that is thought to be unsafe for Americans is okay to be sold in other parts of the world. Is that appropriate? As a physician I have deep misgivings about this practice in a larger context.

Secondly, for this individual, because she’s seeing me, because she is requiring pain medication, that automatically triggers in my mind that we need to be thinking what are the next three to four steps to make her better. How do we treat this on a deeper level so that we can prevent this from getting worse, so that we can actually treat the cause of her pain, not just hand her a pain prescription.

It’s not good enough to have a one-step process in terms of treating her pain with medications only, we need to dig deeper, and go the three to four extra levels to really determine what’s going on, treat the source, and try to make this better long term. This requires a thoughtful diagnostic process and creation of a unique individual plan for her particular condition. The end result should be that she does not require daily pain medication usage long term.

Fortunately for this individual, we talked about the risks of taking this kind of medication long term, started the diagnostic process to accurately identify the cause of her pain, and will set her down a better path to improve her quality of life and reduce the use of pain medications long term.

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