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Suggestion to Ivar and the dangers of giving medical advice

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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world.
I doubt it. It might be the most complex thing that we're terribly interested in.
Apparently, there are flowers with bigger genomes than humans and monotremes with more sex chromasomes:

I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted.
I hope that discussions won't be censored in this way. I think it would be a good idea to have a message on pages with discussions pertaining to medical issues (including things as mundane as blisters) along the lines of "See a medical professional for medical advice." The same could apply to legal discussion "See a legal professional for advice on legal issues." But I have a feeling that even with such a warning, some people will fail to seek medical advice for conditions that turn out to be serious.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
At pilgrim training sessions, I used to allow questions on medical issues until I was taken aside by a member of our executive who was an insurance executive and she read me the riot act about liability for any possible negative consequences. We worked on an acceptable way for a sports medicine expert (not an MD) to speak generally about physical challenges faced by pilgrims, but everything was in the context of "consult a physician."
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted....
I think that there is no need to ban posts on medical advice regarding injuries.

Probably the advice you get here in the forum is better than on many other sources if you just search in the internet... and if the thread gets longer the advice to look for professional medical advice is not only mentioned one time, but often several times...

So maybe the pilgrims who read here for advice regarding injuries and can find these threads go more often to a professional afterwards than if you would ban these posts and you cannot find these hints any longer... even if there are "wrong" postings in these threads as well.
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I hope that discussions won't be censored in this way. I think it would be a good idea to have a message on pages with discussions pertaining to medical issues (including things as mundane as blisters) along the lines of "See a medical professional for medical advice." The same could apply to legal discussion "See a legal professional for advice on legal issues." But I have a feeling that even with such a warning, some people will fail to seek medical advice for conditions that turn out to be serious.
I agree. I fully understand the concern of the OP, but trying to prevent people from acting foolishly by enforcing prohibitions is a slippery slope. And when it comes to possible legal liabilities it gets ridiculous. If for instance someone recommends the use of walking poles (and many do) and a person who has taken that advice stumbles over his poles and falls and break an arm- who is responsible? No one but yourself is responsible for acting sensibly.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I doubt it. It might be the most complex thing that we're terribly interested in.
Apparently, there are flowers with bigger genomes than humans and monotremes with more sex chromasomes:


I hope that discussions won't be censored in this way. I think it would be a good idea to have a message on pages with discussions pertaining to medical issues (including things as mundane as blisters) along the lines of "See a medical professional for medical advice." The same could apply to legal discussion "See a legal professional for advice on legal issues." But I have a feeling that even with such a warning, some people will fail to seek medical advice for conditions that turn out to be serious.
I think you are probably correct that a warning should be added and maybe it is the only workable solution. In regards to flowers and duck billed platypuses that is their problem! Get your mind out of the gutter with all this sex stuff!!!!:)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I agree. I fully understand the concern of the OP, but trying to prevent people from acting foolishly by enforcing prohibitions is a slippery slope. And when it comes to possible legal liabilities it gets ridiculous. If for instance someone recommends the use of walking poles (and many do) and a person who has taken that advice stumbles over his poles and falls and break an arm- who is responsible? No one but yourself is responsible for acting sensibly.
I agree with your example about personal responsibility completely. There are things that you can be banned for on this site. I am guessing it is with hate speech, threats etc. I have also seen where political commentary is frowned upon. So maybe that slippery slope has been breached already. I can't say. As someone else mentioned that their training sessions they once allowed medical questions and were read the riot act by an insurance executive regarding liability. I, maybe more than most have seen what well intended but possible poor or incorrect advice has wrought on people.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I think that there is no need to ban posts on medical advice regarding injuries.

Probably the advice you get here in the forum is better than on many other sources if you just search in the internet... and if the thread gets longer the advice to look for professional medical advice is not only mentioned one time, but often several times...

So maybe the pilgrims who read here for advice regarding injuries and can find these threads go more often to a professional afterwards than if you would ban these posts and you cannot find these hints any longer... even if there are "wrong" postings in these threads as well.
You have exactly made my point for me. "Probably the advice you get here in the forum is better than on many other sources if you just search in the internet." Searching the internet can be a black hole, just as regularly as a layman's medical advice. You also are making the assumption that people are seeking medical advice. None of us know for sure regarding that one. There is absolutely no way of knowing if advice is going to be a panacea or the start of a bigger issue. Just as one final example how do you, I, or anyone else know that an injury not properly addressed considering the factors of an individual's general health, body and even if a suggestion for rehabilitation that is correct is being properly done without a professional's guidance will not lead to a lifetime of chronic pain.
 

TheSparrow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2019) Walked Tomar to Coimbra - Porto to Ponte Vedra - Spiritual Variant to Santiago
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
Also! You might think of the chain for medical help in this order: Self Care (blisters, stomach, etc) Pharmacist (Spain and Portugal have fantastic pharmacies everywhere who have staff who can do simple diagnosis and treatments are offered - they are more empowered than those in the USA to diagnose and treat) and if the Pharmacist says they cannot help you and that you need a doctor they will tell you!!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Also! You might think of the chain for medical help in this order: Self Care (blisters, stomach, etc) Pharmacist (Spain and Portugal have fantastic pharmacies everywhere who have staff who can do simple diagnosis and treatments are offered - they are more empowered than those in the USA to diagnose and treat) and if the Pharmacist says they cannot help you and that you need a doctor they will tell you!!
That sounds like a good pecking order. I have gotten very good advice from pharmacists in Spain. It does help that I have decent Spanish language skills. I am sure you could get by with google translate if need be.
Thanks
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
I would hate to see the Medical Advice Police on this forum.

Talking with others about illnesses and conditions has been around since time began.
Chances to find someone on this forum who knows what you are talking about as a current or aspiring peregrino are high, and there is always someone around to correct ill founded ideas should they appear on these pages.

Non-Europeans for instance who consume high dosage Ibuprofen like candy will find on this forum many valid reasons why they should kick the habit. It is of course entirely up to them if they follow this sensible advice.
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2005, 2007; Madrid/Frances 2011; 1/2 VdP 2012; Portugese Litoral2019; Finisterre/Muxia2019
American television these days is inundated with drug companies' ads.... "if you're suffering from..... ask your doctor about...." So there's tons of advertising and unsolicited advice coming over the airways just like on the internet but one still must see a doctor to get the drug, procedure, etc. From time immemorial people have been trying home remedies and taking advice from others. I think that we should allow that people will have enough common sense to see a medical professional when they feel their situation warrants it; until it reaches that point, why shouldn't they ask for advice? They're under no obligation to act on it....
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Politics, bullfighting & etc. are banned because they start fights. This is different, and it would be a pity if @ivar started protecting us from ourselves, as though we were children.
But maybe OP concern is a flag to get the moderators to become aware and set boundaries by warning on threads when the slope is getting too slippery into the medical advice field.
Even this feels heavy-handed.
We're adults.
Advice offered on an internet forum needs to be taken with a few pounds of salt. But that should be up to each of us to take, as the sensible adults we are.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I have to disagree. Posts I have seen in response to requests for help or advice seem to have "well, it may be this" or "this may help" or "I had similar and I did this" but they always seem to also include "but you must go and see a specialist/therapist/doctor/hospital" as well.

Many injuries and problems are common to the Camino, and so posters ask others ....

now, although I do see that advice could be wrong, even dangerous - consider: hot weather, someone comes on saying that they are feeling weak and a little dizzy in the heat. The conclusion is that it is dehydration and advice on dehydration is given, whereas, unknown to us they have an infected blister and are actually suffering from sepsis and if not treated will die - regardless of that possibility I am fervently against all forms of censorship and fervently for input as it is only input, information, that allows us to make informed decisions.

There is another reason people posts medical issue posts and this is to do with the human condition, what it is in essence to be human - we are tribal creatures, not loners, and when hurt we ask for support from our tribe; sympathy, caring, warmness, a normal and human and positive thing to do .. to want sympathy, bonding, sharing .. it is our most human trait, so to censor that is to isolate the person from their tribe, which is a very bad thing, don't you think?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
I would reasonably expect more useful information on prevention of common pilgrimage related minor medical problems from an experienced pilgrim than from a physician that has no idea what you are going to do to your poor body.
The medical profession does a pretty good job of fixing the damage later though. Especially the clinics near the camino.
Please don’t limit my access to this excellent resource.
 

TheSparrow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2019) Walked Tomar to Coimbra - Porto to Ponte Vedra - Spiritual Variant to Santiago
That sounds like a good pecking order. I have gotten very good advice from pharmacists in Spain. It does help that I have decent Spanish language skills. I am sure you could get by with google translate if need be.
Thanks
Many speak English, but yes, google translate is used all the time in Farmacia's - almost expected I would say if there is a language barrier. I help USA students study abroad and that is what is used routinely to communicate :)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I would reasonably expect more useful information on prevention of common pilgrimage related minor medical problems from an experienced pilgrim than from a physician that has no idea what you are going to do to your poor body.
The medical profession does a pretty good job of fixing the damage later though. Especially the clinics near the camino.
Please don’t limit my access to this excellent resource.
I agree with you. I was not speaking about minor illnesses or physical problems.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
Great post, thanks! I agree that one should see a medical provider if they have a health problem before heading out on a long walk. I also agree that advice from strangers on the internet can be risky. Your torn meniscus is not the same as my torn meniscus. That being said, as an epidemiologist and clinical researcher, I have often gotten bad and/or outdated advice from my medical provider. I've seen them look up my condition on Google while I sat there. I've also had one tell me to stop walking long distances. Haha.

Don't be afraid to research your issue online (on REPUTABLE medical sites). There's nothing wrong with asking for anecdotal input, as long as you know that is all that it is and you can add it to whatever else you learn from other sources. And I would advise anyone offering recommendations to be clear that you are only talking about your own experience, which may not be transferable to others.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I like the idea of reading about other's problems or getting advice AS LONG AS A DOCTOR IS CONSULTED LATER.

Doctors are not infallible. They more they are told about your condition the better they can help you. So if you say that you read about someone else's condition X who also had a problem with Y and what they did was Z and that you also have Y in addition to X you are likely to get better advice (or a least questioning) than just telling the doctor you have X. The Y and Z are coming from people posting here.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
I get it when people ask for advice about shoes, sticks, equipment or preventing blisters, or even help with other minor first aide issues.... Truthfully, I am sometimes astonished by pilgrims already on the Camino wanting advice about possibly serious conditions? I get also the need for as much information as possible...but we can not know the reality of another’s condition from a distance. If I were sick at home I might seek on-line medical research, etc. But as much as I highly value the advice given by many of you, we should always urge pilgrims to seek approprate medical intervention. Is that not ultimately the best advice?
 
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timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Speaking as a physician, I try very hard to stay away from threads like this. I have several times reported my alarm at the dispensing of medical advice on the forum, and particularly advice on the use of specific medications - but I am not really in favour of censorship of any kind.

In particular I would never accept medical advice from someone without a comprehensive grasp of possible side effects and how a recommended medication might interact with any medication already being taken.
I did respond to a thread about 18 months ago, and this is what I said then, and it is what I would say now:

"Of course, like many pilgrims, I was downing ibuprofen regularly"
"On my first Camino I was popping ibuprofen like candy"
and more. Please understand I am not being critical of individuals.
I am not going to get drawn into this discussion. I am a physician. It alarms me to see so much medical advice offered here, I am quite certain with the best of intentions. And I see it quite often on the forum. And I often see antibiotics being recommended too.
I would never give prescribing advice on a forum to anyone. If I am going to prescribe, I need to talk to the patient, and if it is a new patient, examine the patient. I need to know their past history, and their current medication. I need to have access to up to date information on drug interactions and contraindications.
I do not ever prescribe for myself, though I am very well qualified to do so. I have never prescribed for myself, even when living in relatively remote areas of Africa.
If I am unwell, I seek medical advice, or discuss with a pharmacist, or a nurse practitioner. On occasion I have needed to do so on various Caminos. It is not difficult to find qualified help. For those who are lucky enough to be members of the EU such treatment is free.
I am a runner. I am getting to be "of a certain age." If have a painful hip, or knee or foot, I rest it. The thought of "popping ibuprofen" to allow me to run on a damaged joint is anathema to me, and to those who taught me therapeutics a long time ago. I think they were right.
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
I personally feel the forum would loss something if the moderators removed/block the discussions of medical problem as one of the biggest thing people are after is to know that someone else walked after/when dealing with the problem. We are all adults here and to add more censorship to the forum would only weaken its use. Everyone walks with medical issues asking other about there dealing with issues is not wrong. Taking that advise without thinking is.
 

RobertS26

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2013)
Camino Frances, (2014)
Camino Frances, (2015)
As an attorney, I have three rates.

One for people who make things worse by acting on legal advice from a family member, co-worker, or neighbor before finally consulting an attorney.

One for people who make things worse by acting on legal advice from their Google search before finally consulting an attorney.

And one for people who consult an attorney first.

Of the three rates, can you guess which one is the cheapest?

I have never felt comfortable with the medical advice dispensed on this Forum. If I was Ivar’s attorney, I’d advise him not to allow it.
 
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LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Whilst I can’t disagree with any of the sage professional advice given here can I add a few thoughts from someone who is totally unqualified.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I joined an online support group. I found it incredibly supportive. I also found it a huge source of information. I learned a great deal about my treatment, how I might feel, what steps I could take to help ease they side effects... and after I also learned a few very useful things about my care going forward. All of this information helped me to understand my illness when I talked with my own doctors. Of course there was stuff that I thought was wrong but I filtered. That group was amazing and gosh I felt so supported.

Recently I’ve been diagnosed coeliac and I joined a group on Facebook. As before I’ve learned so much but I do have to filter... I don’t agree with it all but I’m learning and feel like I have a place to go and ask questions.

The reason why folks ask questions here, I suspect, is the same reason why I joined those groups; they want opinions, support, encouragement. I ask questions to build knowledge... your answers form part of my learning curve.

So whilst I totally agree that medical advice on here (or elsewhere) could/should perhaps come with a caveat ‘go seek medical advice because we are not doctors’ I do think it would be a great shame for it to disappear or be censored. Opinion is good and I am definitely in the camp that courts the experience of others... I’ve no idea why I find it comforting but I always do and no matter what I learn it never stops me seeking professional advice in the real world.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I have never felt comfortable with the medical advice dispensed on this Forum. If I was Ivar’s attorney, I’d advise him not to allow it.
I must admit that I wouldn't take any discussion among forum members about medical matters as having the quality of medical advice, but clearly you do. Do you have a view when it is reasonable for someone to rely on recommendations made in the forum? I would have thought that it was clear most of us are not professionals, and are not putting ourselves forward as other than lay people, nor do those who might be qualified appear to claim to have met the registration requirements for any particular jurisdiction. What am I missing here?
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Whilst I can’t disagree with any of the sage professional advice given here can I add a few thoughts from someone who is totally unqualified.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I joined an online support group. I found it incredibly supportive. I also found it a huge source of information. I learned a great deal about my treatment, how I might feel, what steps I could take to help ease they side effects... and after I also learned a few very useful things about my care going forward. All of this information helped me to understand my illness when I talked with my own doctors. Of course there was stuff that I thought was wrong but I filtered. That group was amazing and gosh I felt so supported.

Recently I’ve been diagnosed coeliac and I joined a group on Facebook. As before I’ve learned so much but I do have to filter... I don’t agree with it all but I’m learning and feel like I have a place to go and ask questions.

The reason why folks ask questions here, I suspect, is the same reason why I joined those groups; they want opinions, support, encouragement. I ask questions to build knowledge... your answers form part of my learning curve.

So whilst I totally agree that medical advice on here (or elsewhere) could/should perhaps come with a caveat ‘go seek medical advice because we are not doctors’ I do think it would be a great shame for it to disappear or be censored. Opinion is good and I am definitely in the camp that courts the experience of others... I’ve no idea why I find it comforting but I always do and no matter what I learn it never stops me seeking professional advice in the real world.

Lee, I am thankful to be a cancer survivor for twenty years now! I sought expert medical treatment at MSK hospital n NYC. It was a very rare type of sarcoma. I started out at another hospital not knowing what was wrong...neither did they. When I arrived at MSK...time was critical. ...I was operated on two days later. The physician who operated was the foremost surgeon in the world for this type of cancer. He told me years later that had I come in 3 months later, I likely would not have survived...that is how aggressive the tumor was!

My point is that getting the right diagnosis should be one’s first priority. I do not think that can be done on any forum? But support, yes!
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Lee, I am thankful to be a cancer survivor for twenty years now! I sought expert medical treatment at MSK hospital n NYC. It was a very rare type of sarcoma. I started out at another hospital not knowing what was wrong...neither did they. When I arrived at MSK...time was critical. ...I was operated on two days later. The physician who operated was the foremost surgeon in the world for this type of cancer. He told me years later that had if I had come in 3 months later, I likely would not have survived...that is how aggressive th3 tumor was!

My point is that getting the right diagnosis should be one’s first priority. I do not think that can be done on any forum? But support, yes!
Wow... that must have been scary! Mine had been slowly growing for about 8 years and was spotted by my sons knee doctor... and very thankful I am to that wonderful doctor!

I am not disagreeing with you in anyway. I totally agree that anyone in your situation should be going to a doctor. But there's a long way between has anyone walked after x y z and life threatening cancer. Also, some comments on here could ring alarm bells with one of us and it could push a poster into going to see a doctor. I live in France where heath care is free and wonderful so I would never hesitate in going to my GP but that's not the case for everyone.

I honestly can't make an argument for all the sensible replies about the need for professional medical advice. You are right... That is 100% the right thing to suggest... but I am saying that public forums do help some people and it would be a great shame to lose this.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Wow... that must have been scary! Mine had been slowly growing for about 8 years and was spotted by my sons knee doctor... and very thankful I am to that wonderful doctor!

I am not disagreeing with you in anyway. I totally agree that anyone in your situation should be going to a doctor. But there's a long way between has anyone walked after x y z and life threatening cancer. Also, some comments on here could ring alarm bells with one of us and it could push a poster into going to see a doctor. I live in France where heath care is free and wonderful so I would never hesitate in going to my GP but that's not the case for everyone.

I honestly can't make an argument for all the sensible replies about the need for professional medical advice. You are right... That is 100% the right thing to suggest... but I am saying that public forums do help some people and it would be a great shame to lose this.

I did not think my problem was serious initially...had seen another doctor first who downplayed the situation but did suggest removal of the small mass. It was only after the pathology report came back that theproblem became critical. So, I guess my point is, we do not really know how serious a situation is until we get specific diagnosis. And that sometimes requires more than one doctor visit.
No not all of us have universal health care...but waiting to get the right diagnosis usually costs more...
 

Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
This forum is a useful starting point for all sorts of information, medical issues included, and I think that the members are intelligent enough to understand that the opinions of other members, although usually based on experience, are no substitute for proper medical advice.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
I think people should feel free to relate their own experience with the issue. If that experience included treatment from a medical professional, I see no harm in telling the group about that treatment. That's not irresponsible. Perhaps everyone should qualify their responses by saying that they are not a doctor and that the OP should see one.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I think people should feel free to relate their own experience with the issue. If that experience included treatment from a medical professional, I see no harm in telling the group about that treatment. That's not irresponsible. Perhaps everyone should qualify their responses by saying that they are not a doctor and that the OP should see one.
I think that is a great idea. The more you pound into people's heads that each experience is unique can be helpful as well as educational.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Great post, thanks! I agree that one should see a medical provider if they have a health problem before heading out on a long walk. I also agree that advice from strangers on the internet can be risky. Your torn meniscus is not the same as my torn meniscus. That being said, as an epidemiologist and clinical researcher, I have often gotten bad and/or outdated advice from my medical provider. I've seen them look up my condition on Google while I sat there. I've also had one tell me to stop walking long distances. Haha.

Don't be afraid to research your issue online (on REPUTABLE medical sites). There's nothing wrong with asking for anecdotal input, as long as you know that is all that it is and you can add it to whatever else you learn from other sources. And I would advise anyone offering recommendations to be clear that you are only talking about your own experience, which may not be transferable to others.
I think that what you said about doctors looking things up on google makes a good point. I have two answers for that. I have had doctors say to me that they do not know the answer to a question and tell me they will get the right answer and get back to me. When I was a pharmaceutical rep and discussed medications, especially when it was for off label uses, I would immediately have the doctor call the PharmD at our company or I would recommend them calling "thought leaders" at teaching hospitals to discuss off-label use as I was completely unqualified (and it is highly illegal) to discuss this. Pharm D's and thought leaders have the knowledge that doctors need to make informed decisions.
The second caveat is that I would highly recommend that if a doctor is just sourcing information from the internet and it is not from a source doctors use daily to help assist them such as Epocrates, I would get up and leave. I have worked with hundreds of physicians over the years. Many are excellent and just as in any field some are awful. We all have to make judgements about our own care and take personal responsibility. One of the first things I look for is if a doctor takes the time to listen to a patients symptoms, history and concerns before making a rush to judgement.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
[
I have to disagree. Posts I have seen in response to requests for help or advice seem to have "well, it may be this" or "this may help" or "I had similar and I did this" but they always seem to also include "but you must go and see a specialist/therapist/doctor/hospital" as well.

Many injuries and problems are common to the Camino, and so posters ask others ....

now, although I do see that advice could be wrong, even dangerous - consider: hot weather, someone comes on saying that they are feeling weak and a little dizzy in the heat. The conclusion is that it is dehydration and advice on dehydration is given, whereas, unknown to us they have an infected blister and are actually suffering from sepsis and if not treated will die - regardless of that possibility I am fervently against all forms of censorship and fervently for input as it is only input, information, that allows us to make informed decisions.

There is another reason people posts medical issue posts and this is to do with the human condition, what it is in essence to be human - we are tribal creatures, not loners, and when hurt we ask for support from our tribe; sympathy, caring, warmness, a normal and human and positive thing to do .. to want sympathy, bonding, sharing .. it is our most human trait, so to censor that is to isolate the person from their tribe, which is a very bad thing, don't you think?
I do not think that asking for support and kindness is a bad thing at all but extrapolating it to include advice that one has no knowledge of its validity is a big danger. I also disagree that in almost every post there is the caveat that one should see a doctor. Even if it is there one can never be sure if people will follow through with that. There is the assumption here that most people here are intelligent and thoughtful people which I will not argue with whatsoever.
But I always harken back to one of the most brilliant minds of our time, Steve Jobs. He thought he could beat his Pancreatic cancer on his own. He was actually lucky enough to have discovered his cancer very early. Maybe the biggest reason for the high mortality rate of Pancreatic Cancer is that it is so difficult to diagnose early.
This is what his official biographer said about Jobs and his cancer treatment: "Steve Jobs regretted that he had spent so long attempting to treat his cancer with alternative medicine before agreeing to undergo surgery.
The Apple chief executive, who died this month after a pancreatic tumour spread elsewhere, delayed having operations and chemotherapy for nine months after the disease was discovered in October 2003.
In spite of pleas from family and friends, he tried to cure himself through acupuncture sessions, drinking special fruit juices, visiting "spiritualists" and using other treatments he found on the internet.
Some cancer experts have said that Mr Jobs may have extended his life or even survived if he had promptly tackled his cancer aggressively with scientifically proven medical treatments.
Walter Isaacson, whose much-anticipated authorised book on Mr Jobs's life is to be released later this month, said that before he died the 56-year-old had come to realise that he had made a mistake.
"We talked about this a lot," Isaacson told a television interview. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it. I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."
Asked why "such a smart man could do such a stupid thing", Isaacson said: "I think he felt: if you ignore something you don't want to exist, you can have magical thinking. It had worked for him in the past. He would regret it."

Yes this is an extreme case. My point is that even the smartest people sometimes do the stupidest things.
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
I am not aware that Steve Jobs sought advice on medical or other issues on this forum, but perhaps he used an alias.


Meeeh.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
I couldn’t agree more, as a retired physician I often feel the same sometimes about the free advice offered. Personally I’ve sought medical care from public health clinics on 2 of my 1000+km Caminos for bronchopneumonia and was well cared for. If in doubt ask at a spanish pharmacy and/or a spanish Medical centre.
 

OTH86

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
I think it's important to remember that we all come from different countries, legal systems, medical systems, and cultures. There are so many ways of looking at health and legal issues. On a forum such as this it is important to remember it IS an OPEN forum.
Personally, I would like to thank so many members who have shared the valuable information I've found here, and would hate to see the sort of censorship suggested.
It seems many people are reluctant to seek professional medical help outside their own countries, and ask Forum members (who they consider family) how to handle all sorts of problems.
I am so grateful for the care and advice I've received many times in Spain - pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, health centers, etc. while walking multiple Caminos! ...and my Spanish leaves a lot to be desired, but we always managed to communicate effectively!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I agree with you. I was not speaking about minor illnesses or physical problems.
Where it gets tricky is where to draw the line. Leaving a thread through a blister to drain off fluid - simple self-care advice that anyone can give or something that can lead to serious infection ending someone's Camino and best left to medical professionals? Or David's misdiagnosis of weakness and dizziness in the heat in post #17 above. The area of grey between the black and white areas of minor illnesses and physical problems and serious medical conditions that should only be addressed by medical professionals is a very wide are indeed. I'm not sure how we would draw the line in many, if not most, cases.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
If someone recommends an albergue and I slip and fall there or have things stolen, or get bedbugs which end up costing me $$$ to treat is this the fault of the forum? If I drink water from a font that someone mentioned or eat a restaurant that someone recommended and get sick, and end up in the hospital, is this the fault of the forum? I mean, everyone offers information and choices. It’s my responsibility to make a decision that is best for me. Maybe each response should begin with that awareness... seek professional help
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
David - I hope your Australian pilgrim friend who ‘seems intelligent’ isn’t a member of this forum as I suspect she would find your comment insulting. There are very many valid and good reasons why pilgrims, and indeed any travellers, choose to take a supply of antibiotics away with them. They’re sometimes needed and needed quickly. You, as a first-aider, have seen this. The decision to include antibiotics in one’s kit is a personal choice and it’s not for others to make judgements about that choice.
I'll be taking two prescribed meds besides my regular ones: (1) Cipro, an antibiotic that I absolutely know works for urinary tract infections. Ladies, you know that when you get one of those babies you have to hit it fast. (2) Zofran, for nausea. CAVEAT, DISCLAIMER: I am not giving medical advice. I'm just telling the group about me. Don't take an antibiotic unless prescribed and until you know whether you're allergic to it!
 
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Anthony18

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
I agree. I fully understand the concern of the OP, but trying to prevent people from acting foolishly by enforcing prohibitions is a slippery slope. And when it comes to possible legal liabilities it gets ridiculous. If for instance someone recommends the use of walking poles (and many do) and a person who has taken that advice stumbles over his poles and falls and break an arm- who is responsible? No one but yourself is responsible for acting sensibly.
Thank you and so very well said. 🙏
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
I'll be taking two prescribed meds besides my regular ones: (1) Cipro, an antibiotic that I absolutely know works for urinary tract infections. Ladies, you know that when you get one of those babies you have to hit it fast. (2) Zofran, for nausea. CAVEAT, DISCLAIMER: I am not giving medical advice. I'm just telling the group about me. Don't take an antibiotic unless prescribed and until you know whether you're allergic to it!
Really good point Evvie - all round.
I always have a pre-camino consultation with my GP where we discuss possible medical issues I might be unfortunate enough to experience and she issues prescriptions for the appropriate medication. In the case of antibiotics she prescribes a broad spectrum one which we both know works well for me.
Have a wonderful camino next month - take joy in every step.
Cheers -
Jenny
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
I commented on that thread. The individuals that commented before me as well as I all suggested the individual speak to her doctor and follow their advice.

I see no problems in getting together and finding out how others have endured similar situations. As someone waiting to get double knee replacement surgery, I have appreciated talking with those individuals that have gone through the experience and given me hope that it can work out and that I will be able to enjoy long distance walking again.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I commented on that thread. The individuals that commented before me as well as I all suggested the individual speak to her doctor and follow their advice.

I see no problems in getting together and finding out how others have endured similar situations. As someone waiting to get double knee replacement surgery, I have appreciated talking with those individuals that have gone through the experience and given me hope that it can work out and that I will be able to enjoy long distance walking again.
I hope your surgery goes really well. Having a support group to discuss a common element is absolutely not what I’m talking about. I believe that is really excellent for you and others in any situation that can’t be life altering or traumatic. I am only talking about giving medical advice by blaming who are ill-equipped to do so and with all good intentions may cause more harm. A support group is an excellent way to prepare yourself and after surgery or a treatment is probably even better For your heart and soul. Once again good luck. My brother just had a hip replacement and he’s doing fantastically
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Should we also ban advice about medical advice?
I made myself very clear. I don’t know if your comment is sarcastic or what but I’ve made my point. I think it’s very obvious what I’m trying to say
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Where it gets tricky is where to draw the line. Leaving a thread through a blister to drain off fluid - simple self-care advice that anyone can give or something that can lead to serious infection ending someone's Camino and best left to medical professionals? Or David's misdiagnosis of weakness and dizziness in the heat in post #17 above. The area of grey between the black and white areas of minor illnesses and physical problems and serious medical conditions that should only be addressed by medical professionals is a very wide are indeed. I'm not sure how we would draw the line in many, if not most, cases.
You are 100% correct about that. It’s very very difficult. My biggest complaint and worry is when people describe a very obvious condition that is either already serious or has the potential to be serious. Your point about an infection and getting sepsis although probably very rare to the extent of sepsis is still possible. Something that I have noticed on my Caminos is when I see a person who has blisters or a shin splint etc. and refuses to stop and rest because they don’t want to leave their Camino family. Although I prefer to walk alone usually I understand how important that bond is. I have made such bonds. But when I tell people wh something that I have noticed on my Caminos is when I see a person who has blisters or a shin splint etc. and refuses to stop and rest because they don’t want to leave their Camino family. Although I prefer to walk alone usually I understand how important that bond is. I have made such bones. But when I tell people whether when they asked me what they should do. (I never offer unsolicited opinions usually haha). Would your real family stop and wait for you to get better? Speaking of your mom or dad brother or sister husband or wife or child. Of course they would. You’re a Camino family is doing what’s best for each individual person in that family you need to do that too. I am sure we have all made people who had injuries and refused to stop and they were in great pain and suffering.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I commented on that thread. The individuals that commented before me as well as I all suggested the individual speak to her doctor and follow their advice.

I see no problems in getting together and finding out how others have endured similar situations. As someone waiting to get double knee replacement surgery, I have appreciated talking with those individuals that have gone through the experience and given me hope that it can work out and that I will be able to enjoy long distance walking again.
Michael, I had a knee replacement on Feb 28 and will begin my Camino on Sept 4. It's not an easy thing to go through, just go to physical therapy and do your exercises EVERY day. Good luck!
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Michael, I had a knee replacement on Feb 28 and will begin my Camino on Sept 4. It's not an easy thing to go through, just go to physical therapy and do your exercises EVERY day. Good luck!
All I can say is, God bless you. I am heartened to know that you have done so well on rehabilitation and can walk the Camino.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
All I can say is, God bless you. I am heartened to know that you have done so well on rehabilitation and can walk the Camino.
You HAVE to be proactive when it comes to the exercises. It will really, really hurt at first -- they'll have you in PT one or two days post-op -- but you have to do them. Push yourself when you can, lighten up at other times. But always, always do them. Scar tissue is your enemy. It can be painful forever and it can severely limit your range of motion. Again, all the best of luck to you!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
there is also the issue of money. My sister had a Urinary tract infection during our camino in June. We went to the health center in Fromista. They would not see her until we forked over 76 euro in cash.
I don't expect free service. But pilgs traveling with few resources might seek alternative advice if they don't have that kind of cash.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Re carrying 'standby' antibiotics on Camino 'just in case' ....

Unless they are specific antibiotics, prescribed by a physician for a specific illness, no one should ever take random antibiotics for any self diagnosed problem and therefore should not carry them when travelling.
There is also the temptation to offer them to others in a completely misguided attempt at helping them.

Regarding a post above, let me be clear - when doing first aid on Camino I have never ever addressed a problem by thinking that I should hand out antibiotics .. never even suggested that they go and get antibiotics - anyone with a serious problem I have always sent or taken to a doctor or hospital for professional assessment.

There are many types of antibiotics, each for a different problem. Selection of the type, the strength, the dosage, and the duration can only be decided by a qualified physician - so unless prescribed by a physician, leave them at home. In fact, if well, leave them at home anyway and take a note of what the physician has mentioned and if one gets ill go to a hospital as the illness may not be the same at all, even if it has similar symptoms - and only a doctor can tell. That I have raised feathers by saying this causes me no concern at all as it is a silly thing to do - and, as it is in tune with the whole thread, I think it needed to be mentioned - simple as that.

Here the introduction to a scientific article from the University of Helsinki and below the link to all of it

"Travellers carrying standby antibiotics take them more often than those travelling without such drugs. Having antibiotics packed in the bags allows their use -- against recommendations -- also for mild and moderate diarrhoea, i.e. cases not requiring medication.

Increasing antimicrobial resistance, primarily caused by excessive and uncontrolled use of antibiotics, is a globally recognised severe threat to human health. Returning home, approximately every third traveller to the tropics carries intestinal multi-resistant bacteria. The risk of having contracted such bacteria is doubled by taking antibiotics during the journey."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180613113807.htm


Need I say more?
 
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Chica36

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
I think it everyone’s right to take or reject any advice given. I did a whole load of reading before my Camino and bought some lambs wool after reading about it helping cushion blisters. It was absolutely invaluable and I wouldn’t have been able to carry on without it.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Once again. If you read what I wrote, in the second sentence I said I wasn't talking about minor things like blisters. Please read what doctors have said. It is the same as myself. Well intentioned advice regarding the potential for serious injury is what I was addressing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route.
I believe people have a right to ask questions, and they have a right to collect information, which may or may not be helpful. We are all adults here. We don't need the information police. There's enough of that type of behavior already these days in my opinion - telling us what is and is not politically correct.

When I ask for info on Morton's Neuroma, for instance, I'm happy to research all the various "cures" that have helped people. Doesn't mean I'll run out and try each one, but give me many options to explore.

When I was lying in bed for days, not knowing why the heck my head was pounding, I couldn't remember my children's birth dates, and my muscles wouldn't move, the doctors had no clue what was wrong. Months and months of doctors diagnosing a variety of ills, prescription after prescription, I finally got weary of doctors misdiagnosing me and wanting to put me on prescription meds which basically made me forget I was hurting instead of a road to health.

I began putting my symptoms into the computer and within days I had a suspected diagnosis. I then found a specialist who confirmed that diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and that is what led me to the Camino. Without other people's input, I'd still be lying in bed, probably on antidepressants and in a fog.

Nope... let people share.
It's nobody's business but theirs!
 

RuediG

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Dovadola-Assisi-Rome (2019)
@ivar
I wouldn't get upset if medical advice on this page was banned (or if any medical advice involving prescription meds was banned), but it seems a lot of people would. My suggestion would be that as a minimum the "front page" of the "medical advice section" in this community should carry a disclaimer such as, "Please do not follow any medical advice on this page without first consulting a qualified medical professional."
Currently, that front page says,

Medical issues on the pilgrimage
Questions or comments on things like blisters, allergies, diabetics or other medical conditions

The statement "Questions or comments..." could be expanded or changed accordingly.
Another option would be to have the disclaimer automatically appear under every new topic heading in the "Medical issues" section, but I don't know whether that is technically possible.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Yes, I self-medicate. Yes, I am taking antibiotics, bought in Mexico without a prescription, with me on camino this fall. I shall attempt to avoid the recurrence of both the conditions for which my family doctor and my dentist have previously prescribed this particular antibiotic. But if the problems recur I shall treat them, rather than attempting to get seen at a clinic, which did not work for me on a previous camino. The dentist knows that I am bringing this antibiotic with me. We pilgrims make our own decisions for our health. I would never attempt to diagnose a fellow pilgrim, but I would offer water if I feared that one was severely dehydrated, as well as suggesting getting medical help and I would call an ambulance if I felt that the situation warranted it. My level of responsibility for my health is higher when I am walking a camino alone in a foreign country than when I am at home and I shall go on caring for myself and helping others to the best of my ability whatever circumstances arise.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
just take one trip to a Spanish EMergency department, and have the doctor dress you down for "wasting my time and national resources," and you too will think long and hard before seeking medical help. (I reported him .Nothing happened.)
At least the abuse is free in Spain. Plenty of countries would give you the same abuse and charge you for it.

Not all medical professionals have unlimited tolerance for what they judge to be unnecessary calls on their limited resources.

I hope you made a full recovery.
 

West Coaster

Zoomer
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June 2015
I believe that medical advice regarding injuries or suggestions for people who have medical conditions should not be allowed to be posted. I am not talking about how to handle a blister, what to take if you have Montezuma's Revenge or a good ointment for aching muscles from walking. I am talking about injuries, illnesses or pre-existing conditions. No matter how well intentioned people are in relaying their own stories about similar issues, telling a person what they did can be dangerous. I just read about someone who has a torn meniscus and asking others what he should do about it. The human body is probably the most complex entity in the world. Each person's injury and illness is unique. There could be many reasons that someone suffered an injury or has developed morbidity. What could be a panacea for one could lead to a lifetime of problems for someone else. There are countless combinations and factors that lead to an injury or illness. The variety of underlying issues that we all have may make a therapy that worked for one person, can exacerbate that issue for another. It may easily lead to another injury or medical issue. If you are on the Camino and you are really sick, or injured, the Camino is not the Saraha Desert. Seek out medical help. If you have not left you, do not pass go and get to a doctor. It is then up to each of us to decide how to proceed after doing this.
I speak from personal experience. I know one of my professions, Pharmaceutical Representative is not always held in the highest esteem. I can tell you that I have had countless experiences in my private life as well as in doctor's offices waiting to see the doctor where people sought out my advice regarding very serious medical conditions. I ALWAYS stopped them and said, I am a drug rep and not a doctor. Please ask you doctor and no one else. Illness and injury are the symptoms of a serious problem. The problem itself could have far more serious implications than how the symptom presents itself.
I’ve seen a number of people post replies advising people to not bother with getting into good physical shape to do the Camino. Not knowing what a person’s current health and fitness makes that sort of advice nearly criminal.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I’ve seen a number of people post replies advising people to not bother with getting into good physical shape to do the Camino.
Perhaps I am being picky here about your words, but...

This misrepresents the frequent statement that the camino is still possible for people who are not in superb physical condition, provided that they go slowly and have their doctor's approval. Usually it is given in the context of someone not having time to train as much as they'd like, or worrying because of some physical limitation that they have. It is not advice to "not bother", except as a silly statement of humour that any sensible person can recognize. Rather it is advice to "not worry excessively" and to take whatever time is needed.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I’ve seen a number of people post replies advising people to not bother with getting into good physical shape to do the Camino. Not knowing what a person’s current health and fitness makes that sort of advice nearly criminal.
I did my 2016 camino without getting into good physical shape first. I certainly won't say it was easy. It was really challenging. My 2018 camino (for which I did a fair amount of training, in addition to having some residual conditioning from 2016) was much easier. But if I had been worried before setting out on the 2016 camino and had asked on the forum if it was doable, I can imagine a couple of possible responses, based on what I tend to see here. One is that I shouldn't go but wait until I was in good physical shape. The other is that people have successfully done it without training, but it could be very challenging I should likely take it slow, at least at the beginning. It sounds like you would prefer the first response and consider the latter borderline criminal. I didn't ask for or receive advice, but the advice that would have been much more useful to me is the latter. It may be borderline criminal (depending on the laws where you happen to live) but I found the experience of my Camino valuable and had I followed the former advice, I may never have walked.

None of us know another person's current health and fitness, nor do we know what another person considers "good physical shape". On the one hand we are ignorant of what shape the asker is in. On the other hand, they are likely ignorant of the physical demands of the camino (which is why they are asking). We can send them to their doctor, which is one piece of advice that they will certainly be getting. But their doctor is unlikely to have lived experience of the Camino, too. And/Or, we can say "this is what worked for me; this is what other people in good and bad shape have accomplished; this is how it challenged; this is how I (or others) dealt with those challenges; take this information with your own knowledge of your physical and health situation and make your decisions, whatever they may be". Personally, I think this is the most useful. And if things go well, great! And if not, I really think the decision and accountability lie not with the person offering the information and advice but with the person making the decision.

But perhaps I belong in the vicinity of a jail.
 

West Coaster

Zoomer
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June 2015
I did my 2016 camino without getting into good physical shape first. I certainly won't say it was easy. It was really challenging. My 2018 camino (for which I did a fair amount of training, in addition to having some residual conditioning from 2016) was much easier. But if I had been worried before setting out on the 2016 camino and had asked on the forum if it was doable, I can imagine a couple of possible responses, based on what I tend to see here. One is that I shouldn't go but wait until I was in good physical shape. The other is that people have successfully done it without training, but it could be very challenging I should likely take it slow, at least at the beginning. It sounds like you would prefer the first response and consider the latter borderline criminal. I didn't ask for or receive advice, but the advice that would have been much more useful to me is the latter. It may be borderline criminal (depending on the laws where you happen to live) but I found the experience of my Camino valuable and had I followed the former advice, I may never have walked.

None of us know another person's current health and fitness, nor do we know what another person considers "good physical shape". On the one hand we are ignorant of what shape the asker is in. On the other hand, they are likely ignorant of the physical demands of the camino (which is why they are asking). We can send them to their doctor, which is one piece of advice that they will certainly be getting. But their doctor is unlikely to have lived experience of the Camino, too. And/Or, we can say "this is what worked for me; this is what other people in good and bad shape have accomplished; this is how it challenged; this is how I (or others) dealt with those challenges; take this information with your own knowledge of your physical and health situation and make your decisions, whatever they may be". Personally, I think this is the most useful. And if things go well, great! And if not, I really think the decision and accountability lie not with the person offering the information and advice but with the person making the decision.

But perhaps I belong in the vicinity of a jail.
Problem is that there’s many people that over rate their current state of fitness. There’s 100’s of cases in which people that have never run since high school, have been sidelined with a heart attack within the first 1km of a marathon. First snowfall of the season sees thousands of men suffer heart attacks attempting to shovel the driveway. Basically people don’t know their limits and have never tested them out.
The Camino is a walk and most people find walking very easy to do. So it’s got to be easy! It’s not so easy. You’re walking up and down hills with a pack for 6 to 7 hours a day. With not much time to recover you’re back and doing it again the next day. The body cannot build up muscle and be under stress at the same time. If you’re young, you can get away with it, but for most of the seniors this stress could easily lead to a heart attack.
My advice to people doing the Camino is start training at home, 6 months in advance. That way you can sort out any health/equipment issues and if you’re going to die of a heart attack your family does not have to ship you home.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Problem is that there’s many people that over rate their current state of fitness. There’s 100’s of cases in which people that have never run since high school, have been sidelined with a heart attack within the first 1km of a marathon. First snowfall of the season sees thousands of men suffer heart attacks attempting to shovel the driveway. Basically people don’t know their limits and have never tested them out.
The Camino is a walk and most people find walking very easy to do. So it’s got to be easy! It’s not so easy. You’re walking up and down hills with a pack for 6 to 7 hours a day. With not much time to recover you’re back and doing it again the next day. The body cannot build up muscle and be under stress at the same time. If you’re young, you can get away with it, but for most of the seniors this stress could easily lead to a heart attack.
My advice to people doing the Camino is start training at home, 6 months in advance. That way you can sort out any health/equipment issues and if you’re going to die of a heart attack your family does not have to ship you home.
I would absolutely advise people to train first, too. But my experience and the experience of many others is that it is not an absolute necessity and I really think that most of the deaths on the Camino do not come from first time seniors felled by the climb out of SJPP but rather people who get lost in the storms in the Pyrenees or suffer from the heat in the VDLP or on the meseta or get run over by vehicles on the road or seniors at any part of the Camino, who may not be walking it for the first time, whose time has come. Others may have stats that say differently and I am prepared to be educated.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I would absolutely advise people to train first, too. But my experience and the experience of many others is that it is not an absolute necessity and I really think that most of the deaths on the Camino do not come from first time seniors felled by the climb out of SJPP but rather people who get lost in the storms in the Pyrenees or suffer from the heat in the VDLP or on the meseta or get run over by vehicles on the road or seniors at any part of the Camino, who may not be walking it for the first time, whose time has come. Others may have stats that say differently and I am prepared to be educated.

I agree. Though it seems to me that no one needs training before going on Camino if they treat the Camino as the training. Start off slow, take care, take rest days, build up strength and stamina .... the only problem being that walking over a mountain on the first day might not be wise for the unfit, but even that can be done in two stages - or they could start in Pamplona.
Sure, many get injuries and have to stop but is this not to do with walking too far too fast under too heavy a load?

I think that we may have a problem here, with this thread .. and that it is if we all stop giving our advice and opinions then it is no longer a forum ... par ex: on the footwear advice I always suggest going for trekking sandals such as the ones I wear, Keen Newport H2's, but what if someone twists their ankle wearing them? Can I be sued?
A backpack that doesn't fit their torso and causes pain? A sleeping bag that isn't warm enough for them? If they get food poisoning at a recommended restaurant? Bed bugs at a recommended refugio?

Exactly - take it to the logical conclusion and it becomes ridiculous - so I say let it be an open forum, let us respond to questions with our advice and opinions and let the questioner use their reason to see how those answers may apply to them.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
As the OP has, I think, been giving advice on another thread re health issues maybe it is time to close this. Either we can offer comments on a variety of issues which have helped us or we are severely limited in what we can say on almost anything as @David says above....... It is surely up to the reader to decide what is their course of action after reading any advice given on any topic.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
If the medical advice is stuff like "Ibuprofen is not an anti-inflammatory that's suitable for lengthy use, but it's only proper to use it for punctual needs, so that if you need to use anti-inflammatory drugs over a long period of time such as four to six weeks on the Camino than you should get an appropriate medicine prescribed to you by your usual doctor" or "taking antibiotics is a very bad idea except when they have been prescribed to you against a particular infection and you absolutely need them, but in that case why are you not convalescing at home ?" or "repeated cortisone injections end up destroying your cartilage" and "do not listen to online medical advice from complete strangers, but go and see a doctor", and so on, I don't think it should be stopped.

Then there's some more hiker related stuff like advice about particular different types of knee braces which can be more or less OK too, but even then caveat emptor !! Certain particular types of medical issues with your knees can require a specific type of knee brace -- or even none at all.

But in this latter category, the advice on what sort of footgear to use and what sort of stick(s) or poles in this forum can be extremely useful even from the medical perspective.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I had plantar fascitis in 2014, It came on after I did some training in shoes which were not suitable for me, I didn't understand what it was I just thought I had bruised my right foot on the heel and arch area and it would go away with time. In the mean time I walked from Montpellier to Sanguesa on the Chemin Arles, my foot was in agony but otherwise I was having a great time. The flat paths of the Aragones made me jump to the San Salvador and the Primitivo because intuitively I recognized the more rugged paths that I would encounter would from a pain point of view be better for me. When I got home I was given the diagnosis of PF by my GP, and he recommended some exercises, I tried these for several months, absolutely no effect on the condition. It was Jrit on here who posted an article about a particular exercise for it, the very 1st time I tried it, it 'unlocked' the knot in my heel and my arch, it was gone just like that. So used with a bit of common sense and in the right situation, advice on here can be very beneficial.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I think that @Isca-camigo has found just the right word as have others. We give advice to fellow pilgrims not a diagnosis. Advice can be checked out with the medically qualified or in some cases can be tried. Ideas from fellow pilgrims have been beneficial to may of us, but if really ill in Spain I would seek medical advice from either a pharmacist or suitably qualified practitioner. Sometimes if they are a distance away,or if as for @Isca-camigo the treatment has not worked, then other advice is helpful....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
Generally, there is wisdom in crowds. In the rare case that someone "goes against the grain", people on the forum usually jump in with "your mileage may vary" caveats. Even in the case of the person with the torn meniscus, they were not looking for medical advice, they wanted to know the best route to minimize risk / pain. In that case, the overwhelming suggestion was to wait until they were healthy, and that's what they did. I'm sure the response on the forum influenced that decision as her doctor was going to clear her to walk (over the Pyrenees, no less!). More often than not, open discussions benefit the members of this forum, and I would hate to loose that.
 

K Turner

One step at a time
Camino(s) past & future
14 August 2019 (SJPdP 16 August)
Doing first aid on Camino my first rule is 'do no harm' and would never offer medical advice nor 'patch over' a problem that I don't understand ... I do simple first aid, if I come up against anything not simple or even something that causes me slight concern I send them or take them to the nearest health surgery...
So - I say keep it open, the forum, and let us offer our experience of similar symptoms but always suggest that visit to a professional.
Agreed! I would hope those who ask questions will take any advice with a grain of salt and some common sense.

A few days ago on the CF just outside Rabanal, a woman in front of me cut her head open. Her group had a tiny first aid kit, but none of them knew what to do. I carry a well-stocked kit, all items in which I am trained and experienced in using. Once the bleeding was under control I urged her to see a doctor asap. An hour later I saw her at Rabanal and she asked if it was really necessary to go in. Her group said she really didn't want to and they didn't want to force her. Once I told her that if one of my children sustained the injury, they'd be at the doctor. She immediately called a taxi. I saw her the next day, with her cut cleaned and stitched; she and her group thanked me for pushing the trip to the doctor.

There's only so much I could do to help her while on the trail, and there's only so much that can be done to help on a forum. Use common sense and seek professional help.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I think that @Isca-camigo has found just the right word as have others. We give advice to fellow pilgrims not a diagnosis. Advice can be checked out with the medically qualified or in some cases can be tried. Ideas from fellow pilgrims have been beneficial to may of us, but if really ill in Spain I would seek medical advice from either a pharmacist or suitably qualified practitioner. Sometimes if they are a distance away,or if as for @Isca-camigo the treatment has not worked, then other advice is helpful....
Well, I think some of the 'advice' given by some members is pretty uncompromising! And I am not referring to competent first-aid.

Some of the comments offered are nakedly diagnostic. Maybe some lay people here will get it right, based on their own experiences, but often it will be quite wrong, and consequently inappropriate and thus carries a risk of acting upon it. Individuals may disregard the risk, for their own reasons, but it still nonetheless exists.
 

David Mapletoft

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francais in August 2014: 1800km
Francais in August (2017): 800k
Madrid (2019)
Portugal (2020)
As a health care professional I would disagree that members should not support other members with advice as long the advice is backed by the rider - see you health care professional/s for face to face assessment as soon as possible AND some evidence that the advice is sound e.g. a link to PubMed article supporting such advice. e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848339/

Reading information at Harvard you will also find:
"Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician."

I was fortunate to be able to communicate with my health care providers in Australia when I had some issues. It may also be a good idea to set something up with your own health care providers prior to leaving e.g. email or Skype options to get their advice
 

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