Getting Advice from Dr. Google? You Might Need a Second Opinion.

Posted on in Clinical, News
Getting Advice from Dr. Google? You Might Need a Second Opinion.

Have you ever tried to self-diagnose yourself by simply searching for answers on the internet?

Sure, we probably have all tried to figure out the reasoning behind experiencing various signs and symptoms.  Sometimes we need certainty to help us feel more at ease with our respective situations.

However, this can also lead to developing negative ideations and skewed perceptions.  Perhaps we need to explore more into what information is the internet providing us and what are some ways we can improve the delivery of information.

When we go down the bunny trail of an internet search for our respective symptoms, it can lead to us to information that can potentially alter our perspectives on course of treatment and prognosis. Many resources focus heavily on a lot of superficial information including biomedical and biomechanical in nature. However, we must realize there is more than this superficial information regarding an individual’s diagnosis. 

The biopsychosocial approach is a sense of collaboration, understanding, and support between the clinician and the patient.1 However, these internet searches may lack that biopsychosocial approach to guiding patients on what they are currently experiencing.

A study evaluated online searches for low back pain and the results showed most of the information found online mostly was biomedical related with limited insight into the biopsychosocial factors.2 There may be more than biomedical factors related to a clinical presentation.  Therefore, there is a need to understand mechanisms and conceptualization of pain.1Accomplishing this would help provide a more individualized and patient-focused approach.

While there are many great resources available located on the internet, remember to be cautious and make sure to communicate your symptoms with your designated healthcare provider to determine the best course of care. 

Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT


  1. Booth J, Moseley GL, Schiltenwolf M, Cashin A, Davies M, & Hubscher M. (2017). Exercise for chronic musculoskeletal pain: a biopsychosocial approach. Musculoskeletal Care, March 30th
  2. Black NM, Sullivan SJ, and Mani R. A biopsychosocial understanding of lower back pain: content analysis of online information. European Journal of Pain, 2017:1-17.