Family medicine is where most people seek their first line of treatment, only being referred to a specialist if necessary. These medical professionals treat a wide range of ailments across age groups. So what are the most common complaints in family medicine?
1. Aches and Pains
Many patients come in complaining that they are in pain, and there are a variety of different reasons for this. The discomfort may be caused by an injury such as a sprain or strain, a condition such as bursitis or osteoarthritis, or may even be a symptom of another underlying issue. An experienced physician should be able to diagnose the problem based on the location of the pain, when and how it began, and the overall health of the patient.
Another common complaint is headaches, including migraines. Many issues may cause headaches. A practitioner may diagnose chronic migraines and prescribe medication to ease the painful symptoms. Headaches may also be due to an allergic sensitivity or a nasal infection, such as Sinusitis. An appropriate diagnosis in this situation would be an allergy test to determine the patient’s allergies or antibiotics to treat the infection. If the problem persists, the doctor may suggest an eye exam, MRI, or a CT scan to rule out neurological problems.
3. Cold and Flu Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of cold and flu that doctors commonly see in family medicine include chest congestion with an accompanying cough, fever, aches, tiredness, a sore throat, and a runny nose. Once one person is sick, the cold or flu virus or bacteria will usually make the rounds throughout the whole household. The physician may prescribe antivirals or antibiotics to shorten the duration of the illness and will recommend plenty of rest and fluids until the patient is well.
4. Stomach Pains
Abdominal pain is another common complaint heard by general physicians. Abdominal pain may also be present with symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation and can be either acute or chronic. The practitioner will usually treat the symptoms and make recommendations to prevent dehydration. If the pain is severe and persistent, the doctor may run tests to determine if the patient has ulcers or another condition such as gastritis.
5. Skin Disorders
Many patients come in complaining of a variety of skin disorders, from the minor to the extreme. Some of these disorders might include rashes caused by exposure to an irritant, chronic acne, psoriasis, cysts, and irregular or alarming spots and moles. If initial treatment is unsuccessful, the physician may refer the patient to a dermatologist.