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Friday, August 26, 2011

HEALTH ALERT: The Don’t-Do List: 4 Treatments and Tests to Reconsider!


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By Regina Nuzzo from Reader's Digest Magazine, September 2011.


Doctor and Patient

What doctors do is important. Equally important: what they don’t do. To keep patients healthier, prevent unnecessary treatment (and side effects), and save health-care dollars, a panel of doctors is urging internists, family medicine specialists, and pediatricians to follow top-five lists of medical don’ts. Here are some of those tests and procedures — and the go-slow approaches that are preferable.

Lower-Back Pain

Don’t do an imaging test within the first six weeks except in special cases.
“The vast majority of back pain goes away on its own,” says Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. “A back image is not going to help you heal faster, but it can mislead your doctor into thinking that something is wrong, which can lead to costly and unnecessary surgery.” Of course, sometimes tests and treatments are unavoidable (say, if you’re also having bladder problems), so make sure your doctor listens carefully to all your symptoms, says Jerome Groopman, MD, coauthor of the forthcoming Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You. “A really good doctor doesn’t follow a cookbook,” Dr. Groopman says.

Bone-Density Screening

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