“I felt like the doctor did not understand where I was coming from…”

By Loni Rodriguez,

Physical Therapist


Do you know what fires me up more than anything? It’s hearing a story from a client that begins with… “I felt like the doctor did not understand where I was coming from.”


You may not know this story, but I dealt with hip and low back pain for just over 2 years when I was going through graduate school. It came on gradually while running one day on the treadmill. It was sharp, came on strong and would not let go. It gradually persisted and ultimately led me to have to stop running all together. It derailed me and created a borderline depression around the fact that I was unable to exercise like I had wanted to. I went from running almost every day to dealing with persistent hip pain that I would feel first thing in the morning and be with me until the minute I went to bed. I would wake up wondering if it would just go away…

How I was going to be able to go out with friends? Sit at a baseball game? Go shopping? Play football with friends on the beach? It consumed me.


I went to a plethora of doctors and physical therapists, had injections, saw specialists and was convinced that my hip required surgery because one MRI found a cartilage tear. I was constantly searching for answers to the cause of my symptoms and coming up short time and time again. Fast forward 7 years, symptoms have improved dramatically and I no longer deal with persistent pain. I feel stronger and more resilient than ever… so what can I contribute it to? That is a question I do not have the answer to… yet, but is not the point of my story. I am not going to tell you I have the magic answer to solve all persistent pain like this… But I am damn sure I know what would have helped me along the way.


Looking back on this, I realized one common piece that I was missing. I didn’t have a healthcare provider that told me that I was going to get through this and they were going to guide me… that is all I wanted, someone to tell me they would lead me on a path to feeling better and more confident in my hip.


At 21 I had one person – a doctor, surgeon and low back pain specialist tell me that I was going to be dealing with pain for the rest of my life. I remember crying in my car after the session, not because I thought he was right, but because I knew he was wrong. I was more upset because I knew he was going to be giving that same screwed up advice to all the other poor souls in the waiting room. I knew that I had a better understanding of pain and did not want to take that answer as my fate.


I wanted someone to listen to my entire story and not seem like the details were obsolete. I remember creating a pain log to show one of my providers and they didn’t even look at it.  Finally, overtime I gradually improved and found my way of returning to exercise – running, lifting weights, competing in CrossFit and running races without even thinking about my hip or low back. This took time and hard work, but I made it.


This is not how an experience with a medical professional should be. You should 110% be involved in your own plan and be guided in that direction.


Have you ever had an experience with this? Have you ever been a fly on the wall in this situation with a family member? How many times have you or someone you know had to accompany a family member at a doctors appointment because you do not remember what they said.


I would love to hear YOUR story…


It does not have to be like this!  Seek other advice from someone who listens.


Thank you for taking the time to read and have an awesome rest of the week!


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