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Don’t Freak Out About Your Doctor’s Notes

Do you ever get scared after reading your medical report? Does the report mention terms like cancer, infection, or fracture?

I know it sounds very intimidating. I have had people come to my office telling me their last doctor said they did not have cancer, but their report made it sound like it was possible.

Don't Freak Out About Your Doctor’s Notes

Some of you may have very serious medical conditions. But for the vast majority, you may have scary sounding conditions, but actually it could only be a possibility, and not your reality.

Doctors must always consider very serious problems that may be causing your complaints. That is why the report will list things like cancer, infection, and broken bones.

Doctors are trained to consider the worst possibilities. This list is called the Differential Diagnosis.

For any set of complaints, Doctors need to consider the categories of potential causes.

Differential Diagnosis Categories

Differential Diagnosis
  1. Trauma. Did the complaint come from a physical injury?
  2. Degeneration. Is the complaint coming from the normal wear and tear of aging? Just as we wrinkle, and bald, our body parts do deteriorate over time. It is part of the normal cycle of life. We are born, we grow, we mature, we age.
  3. Infection. Can the cause be an infection that causes destruction of the body? Examples include parasite infections, lyme disease, TB, Covid, Ebola, and fungal infections.
  4. Cancer. Yes, scary as it sounds, it is always a consideration.
  5. Auto immune. Sometimes, the body confuses its own parts are being foreign, and start to attack itself. The most common condition like this includes rheumatoid arthritis, where the body attacks its own cartilage.
  6. Genetics. Some of Us are born with conditions that can cause complaints.
  7. Chemical. Some will call this poisoning. It could be coming from your environment.
  8. More unusual possibilities such as altitude, or diving issues. Also, in the future, Zero, or low gravity issues related to space travel can cause a number of conditions. For certain occupations, and for our military personnel, there may be a consideration for radiation effects.

One Category Leads to Another

While Doctors do studies to identify the real cause of the problem, often times, one category of potential complaints can actually cause the development of another category of diagnosis.

To give you an example, weak bones caused by osteoporosis can lead to a fracture.

one category of potential complaints can actually cause the development of another category of diagnosis

In this scenario, there is the degenerative process, there is a trauma process, and there is the genetic process that all contribute to the complaint.

When you read your Doctor’s notes to other Doctors, and for the record, do not be alarmed. Doctor’s notes often contain possibilities of the causes of your complaints. It does not mean it is what you have.

Do not be scared reading the Doctor’s Report. Doctors are trained for years to communicate with each other, and to consider the most serious possibilities. The notes reflect that. Do not let the notes give you nightmares.

It is like a list of possibilities. Fortunately, most of the time, for spinal complaints, it is rarely a life threatening one.

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Last modified: August 5, 2020

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