News flash: Communication problems aren’t just for married couples. It seems that doctors and patients may have some lack-of-sharing issues too, especially when it comes to talking about alternative treatments. While acupuncture and chiropractic care are increasingly popular — and effective — among patients, 35 percent of acupuncture patients and 42 percent of chiropractic patients did not discuss this care with their primary doctors, according to a study. “My theory is that people are hesitant to reveal it either because they are embarrassed to be looking elsewhere for help or because they are afraid their primary doctor will feel it’s not valuable and that they’ve wasted their money,” says Roxanne B. Sukol, MD, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Enterprise. Dr. Sukol points out that she can certainly help her patients a lot more if she knows what additional treatments they’re getting. However, she is less concerned about patients staying mum about acupuncture and chiropractic care than she is about patients who engage in high-risk behaviors that they don’t reveal (e.g., excessive alcohol use or taking supplements that may interfere with medications). To receive the best care, be an open book with your doctor and tell her the whole story.
“I can’t help you if you won’t let me. I can’t listen if you won’t tell me.” Annonymous