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‘My husband is having serious medical issues and refuses to see the doctor. What can I do?’

‘My husband is having serious medical issues and refuses to see the doctor. What can I do?’

For five months, Claire’s husband has been experiencing back pain, but he still doesn’t think there’s any reason to make a doctor’s appointment to check out his symptoms. What can Claire do to encourage her husband to see a doctor?

My advice:

Claire, you bring up a great point: a lot of men don’t like going to the doctor. This is a typical problem. I’ll tell you, guys tend to take better care of their cars than their own bodies. They’ll remember to bring the car in for an oil change every six months, but when it comes to their own health, they’ll wait as long as they can before making an appointment.

I understand your husband works for a packaging company and lifts heavy boxes throughout the day. A lot of men with physically strenuous jobs will get a backache and assume they’ve just pulled a muscle and that it’ll go away in a few days. However, a lot of times, back pain indicate something a lot more serious, such as a slipped disc. If your husband has a slipped disc, he could have a bulging, or herniation, of the cushioning material between the vertebrae, or it could be pressing on a nerve. Then you have a serious problem.

Not only will an impinged nerve affect your husband’s back and musculature, but it could also affect his urination and prostate. Pressure on these nerves can do permanent damage. So if this is the case, he’ll need to see a doctor right away.

To put this in perspective, did you know that a lot of football players can’t urinate? They actually need to wear a catheter just to go to the bathroom. This is because they take so many direct hits during their careers, that they end up getting a slipped disc, and their nerves become severely impinged. Then they have a lifelong injury. This isn’t usually talked about, but I see it all the time.

What you need to do is make him a doctor’s appointment, and go there together. Let him know you love him and you’re concerned about him and his health. This way he’ll feel more comfortable with the whole situation. Tell him how serious a condition this can be, and that you’ll get through this together. Remind him of what I said about getting your oil changed — guys can relate to that, and it may knock some sense into him.

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