When we survey our patients, generally we find that 90% or more are doing better, however, that last 10% is what makes our day sometimes very difficult. You see folks, as most people know, the unhappy person is the one who makes the most noise. As they say, the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the grease- or the most attention in my situation. My team is very much on top of our bad reviews because we always learn something from them. It might be that I did not explain their situation as well as I could have, or maybe it was just too much information coming at the patient and they did not understand it all. Usually, when I get a bad review, it is because expectations were not met.
Let me explain what all that means. When a new patient walks in my office, most of the time they are in a lot of pain and want help. Most of them have been to many doctors already and have had no relief. By the time I meet that person and figure out that the discs are out of place, the cranial bones are out of alignment, and the cervical spine is distorted, it is often late in the game and the nerves and blood vessels in the skull are already damaged. I explain that we will have to work at this problem for at least a year or two and then see if the discs are any better. Then, at that time, we decide if surgery is indicated or not. Based on the fact that 90% of the time, we can help people get better, that is the expectation that most people have- they are most likely going to get better. However, if they are in that 10% group, then they will not get better and all the effort in the world might not make a difference- in other words, sometimes it’s just too little too late. This is the point where surgery (or stem cell/PRP/prolotherapy) would be needed. Since there is no way to predict if surgery is needed from day one, we must go through the appliance therapy first to see what can be done. Again, since most people do get better, that is what our patients expect. When they do not get better, they get angry, and they complain.
You see, dear reader, 90% of the people are happy so they have nothing to complain about, so we don’t really hear from them in the reviews. But when you upset someone in the slightest, they are all over the review sites. I understand. They want results, they want relief. But sometimes there is just too much damage for too long. I recall one woman who left two bad reviews using two different versions of her name. I told her the day I met her that surgery would most likely be needed, the case was very bad and there was so much damage. But we had to try to avoid surgery and see what we can do with a bad situation. It’s only logical. She ended up quitting after just a short while and ended up berating me on the reviews. Unfortunately, HIPPA laws do not allow me to respond to these reviews. I am not able to explain that she had pain for decades and I was doing my best to help a very bad situation. If I could have explained what the truth was, other people would understand why her case was so very difficult and true relief would only be found with a surgical approach. I wish that I could predict these surgical cases in advance and save everybody the difficulties of being in conservative treatment from the beginning.
As I wrapped up the year of 2021, I stand behind my conservative approach- treat all patients as conservatively as possible, but ALWAYS explain that this may not work all the time. You might need surgery/stem cell/PRP/Prolotherapy or some other intervention to manage those damaged/displaced discs. This explanation may or may not resonate with everybody, but it is the truth and I believe being straight up with everyone is the best way to be.