Self-diagnosis and believe all you read- at your peril!

If you want to confuse yourself then the Internet is a great way of making mountains out of mole-hills and seeing forums of people who never get better and always have  terrible negative stories to tell about the disaster that beheld them, is a sure fire way of depressing yourself.  Medicine on the internet is a hard one, it can inform, not always correctly about what might be wrong, and what you could do to fix it. 

Don't take “so called” evidence at face value, a recent paper found woolly underwear to be effective for back pain! Analyze and appraise the evidence before making a decision- always.

The other thing that the Internet is good at is spinning research into what people want to hear! (Sounds like politics to me!)

The thing about internet and popular press is that it tends to polarize opinion- and that’s all it is- opinion- there is very little science on Twitter!!- And it’s always best to deal with good Research and cold hard facts, when dealing with medicine and rehabilitation following injury.

The popularization of research to a watered down version of what journalists or bloggers think research is saying leads to misinformation and speculation about outcomes of treatment and information.  Being able to read research and access the truth and not just the “nice” or “easy to read” parts of any research paper of article is what your Dr/Physio and professional health care givers do for a living. A good one will give you the real truth- often it’s a boring- not such a sensationalist view on something-but it will be considered and well thought through.

When you are a consumer or reader looking at things on the internet or in a magazine-they may appear either black or white but in the majority of cases they are very grey indeed! It's important to understand as much of the evidence that surrounds a topic as possible, not just what suits. These views will change as the research becomes clearer- and as more good research is completed.

But do not always believe what you read in popular press, it is much easier to make an article in a magazine interesting by polarizing the views, especially when it is to do with medicine- it makes for sensational reading. Take the opinion of someone who has a good balanced view who has the background of reading research articles all the time, to help you see the real truth.

Get a good diagnosis, and a good face-to-face opinion- from some one real and then you are more likely to get a good outcome!

Jayne Nixon

Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist( Internet lover/hater.)

BSc HONS MSc Sport Ex Medicine MCSP HCPC reg.