I have a back ache and am thinking of joining a gym , so I can exercise my back muscles to prevent the problem from getting worse. My wife insisted that I go see an orthopedic surgeon and get his advice as to what exercises I should do and which I shouldn't , because she's worried that exercising may strain my back and make the problem even worse.
I was very reluctant to go to an orthopedic surgeon because while they know a lot about things like arthroscopy and hip replacements , they actually know very little about mundane things like back pain, because this is a garden-variety bread-and-butter problem which doesn’t excite or interest doctors . Doctors don't understand much about exercise ; and if there's a problem , they usually refer the patient to a physiotherapist , and that's that. I was wondering what the advantage of seeing a doctor would be.
I also told her that I've read enough books on back ache , which describe what exercises can help and which will not, so I am quite well informed. I'm not sure what value going to an orthopedic surgeon would add to my life. She was quite insistent that orthopedic surgeons are experts and know a lot about all this stuff . Her point was that a book is all about theory , while a surgeon would provide practically useful advise.
I feel that a book is actually a much better source of information , because it is written by an expert who has a special interest in the problem , and is willing to take the time and trouble to share his expertise with others. This is why I would rather learn about what exercises to do and how to do them from a book , rather than going to a doctor.
This dichotomy between theory and practice is completely artificial ! All sound theory is based on practical experience – and a book is written by an expert who has a lot of real-world expertise.
We have medicalized life so much , that we seem to feel that we need permission from a medical expert before we can do any thing - even doing something as simple as exercising ! ( It’s ironic that most exercise books will also start off with a disclaimer – please take your doctor’s advise before starting a fitness regime !) I think this is a broken model and not one I'm willing to subscribe to. While doctors are great and can provide a lot of value, we need to use our commonsense so we know when to use their services - and when not to.