Emergency room doctor GruntDoc points out - with healthy mix of wit and compassion - why he can rarely help someone with chronic low back pain who comes to the emergency with a flare-up of intense pain.

    "I have finally learned that there are some patients I probably won’t be able to help medically and that it’s actually cruel to let them think otherwise. For instance, the patient with the low back pain that’s been to seven neurosurgeons (had three operations), been to the Mayo Clinic and to innumerable chiropractors, who looks at me and says “I need to get better”, what’s causing the back pain? Realistically, what can I offer that a myriad of specialists couldn’t?"

The emergency room is not the place to deal with chronic back pain. But for the frustrated patient who's in a great deal of pain and has tried everything else, I can see why he or she is tempted to give it a try.

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