A simple understanding of your basic organs and bones.
The human body…pretty on the outside, kinda gross on the inside. Still, there’s something to be said for knowing a thing or two about our guts.
“Since knowledge is power and each patient should be a willing partner with their doctor in managing their illnesses, basic knowledge of the body is part of that,” said Dr. Chan Park. Park practices with GEMCare’s GMA Healthcare Providers. “Understanding how your body works will encourage compliance, increase patient satisfaction, and improve overall outcomes.”
Dr. Park finds that he has some patients that are well-educated and well-informed of the body, and some that need a lot of instruction in even the most common sense issues. “For example,” he said with a chuckle, “someone worried about their liver comes into the office because of pain in the left side of the abdomen and I would prompt them that the liver is on the right side.”
These types of situations are common, Dr. Park explained. Maybe a person spends a couple of weeks thinking that their upper back pain is just a pulled muscle before going to the doctor. Once there, they find out it’s a kidney infection…and they had no idea the kidneys were located so far toward the back of their body. Had they known, they wouldn’t have waited so long to see their doctor.
“This scenario has happened,” Dr. Park said, “but also in reverse where someone comes in thinking they have a kidney problem and has muscular issues. Heartburn could be easily assumed when it is actually a heart attack. So it is better safe than sorry to err on the side of thinking the worst instead of blowing things off.”
How do you know if it’s something to worry about? If that pain in your side is just a muscle or if there’s some super important organ there? Easy. Go to medical school.
Obviously you’re seeing the diagram of the skeletal system and one that shows our organs. We thought it would be good for everyone to get a good refresher on where everything actually sits in our body. That way, if you have a pain or a concern, you have a good foundation to start searching for a cause with your doctor (and hopefully some good Trivia Night answers). Just don’t get too wrapped up in the internet diagnosing.
“It is difficult to deal with patients who present with a diagnosis already formulated in their mind and come wanting specific tests or treatments,” Dr. Park detailed. Especially because there’s no context and subjectivity to internet medical sites so patients can miss many signs and symptoms. “But in general I think it is of benefit to have a better understanding of one’s own body and knowledge of how things work. Being a capable partner with their doctor and having an understanding of their illness and body will make the treatment or experience at the doctor’s office that much more enjoyable. The relationship between the patients and their physicians should be like a student and a teacher. Patients should always be learning as the word doctor in Latin actually means to teach.”
So while there won’t be a quiz after class, take a look at these (fairly simple) diagrams to learn more about what’s going on underneath the skin. And remember, it’s always best to see your doctor if you think something is wrong with any part of your body…from cranium to tarsals.