Within Normal Limits

What doctor came up with the phrase “within normal limits” to describe medical test results? I would really like to sit down with this person and ask a very important question: what does that even mean? I know it means exactly what it says…a test result falls between the high and low values for what is considered normal. It can be anywhere in that area. Well, how is it supposed to make me feel better?

Am I supposed to be cheerful that a couple of months ago my neck MRI, which was done to find the cause of myelopathy (possible spinal cord injury) was within normal limits? I still don’t have proper reflexes. I still don’t feel things the same on both sides of my body. Apparently, though, my senses are just fine.

Am I supposed to be happy that the MRI done on my spine (to find the cause of paralysis and severe back pain) on the 31st was within normal limits? Does that take away the paralysis I go through in the morning? Does it give me a pain-free day with my back?

Or how about the MRI and EEG that I had last December to find out what causes the flailing arms? It came back normal. If it’s so normal, then why has the problem occurred consistently since I was a small child? What causes it?

Why do doctors feel that once a result comes back with the notes “within normal limits” that they no longer have to look into what might be causing it? I would think if the symptoms went away, then yes, alternating the course of diagnosis is probably a fine thing to do. However, when someone is still experiencing the problems that brought on the diagnostic test, then something needs to occur so that they can find the root cause of the issue.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.