I injured my back while gardening last week. It didn't get better so I went to see my doctor. In order to get any treatment the insurance company requires an exact diagnosis. The doctor put in lumbar disc with radiculopathy (leg pain). I don't really have any leg pain. It seems like the system forces the doctor to lie. What can be done about this?

You make a good point. Doctors may feel it's necessary to document findings that aren't really there in order to help patients get the care they need. This is especially true when preauthorization for treatment is required based on specific findings. If those findings aren't there, then no treatment is allowed.

A recent study reported many doctors exaggerate the severity of patient's symptoms. They may even report signs and symptoms that aren't there. This deception is caused by the tension of what to do when the patient doesn't have the exact problem covered by insurance.

Identifying the problem is the first step in changing these practice patterns. Helping patients get the services they need is called patient advocacy. More research is needed to support patients' need for care while keeping costs down.