06/29/2014 08:33 am ET Updated Jun 29, 2014

When To Get A Second Opinion

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By Kevin Gray for Men's Journal

Find a doctor you trust, but don't hesitate to get a second opinion when you feel you need one. Here are some occasions when another perspective might be warranted.

Unless it's a life-or-death situation, get a second opinion when you're advised to have surgery. In the case of ACL repair or surgery for back pain, rest and physical rehab may offer better treatment. It also helps to talk with others who have had the surgery before you go under the knife.

CT Scans
These can save lives, but they also deliver megadoses of radiation -- 500 times that of a regular X-ray. While your chances of getting cancer from a single scan are one in 600, multiple scans can create a problem. In general, CT scans of the head should be avoided when possible.

Cortisone Shots
Most doctors won't hesitate to order cortisone shots for pain or a sports injury. But these injections only mask, not cure, pain and can prolong recovery time. In fact, if you get more than three shots to the same area per year, it can damage tendons, making them more likely to snap.

Long-Term Antibiotics
Taking antibiotics for more than two weeks builds up your resistance. If you're prescribed them, go for a second opinion to determine if they're really necessary. One exception is Lyme disease, for which long-term antibiotics may be needed to knock out all bacteria.

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