Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is an epidemic condition affecting millions of patients worldwide. The medical industry is meeting this growing plague head on, but making very little progress when it comes to providing lasting relief for the majority of patients. Medical science turns its attention to developing mostly symptomatic treatment modalities when patients really need a cure for their pain. Objective study of the history of back pain, the typical diagnoses, the standard treatments and the statistical results paints a crystal clear picture of why most patients never truly recover from their debilitating symptoms.
Many health conditions can be traced back hundreds or even thousands of years in history. Back pain is rarely mentioned in historical medical texts and almost never spoken of as a serious or chronic concern. It is surprising to know that modern man suffers from back pain in numbers too vast to calculate. Back pain complaints are the second most common reason for a patient to seek out medical advice from their doctor. Back pain is the number one cause for a worker to miss a day of work. Chronic back pain might not be a historical medical disorder, but its time has come and it is spreading like a contagious disease. Modern back pain conditions are known by patients and doctors alike to be treatment resistant and enduring problems which defy even the most aggressive treatment.
Lower back ache is the most common severe and life altering spinal condition. Patients who suffer from lumbar pain, regardless of diagnosed causation, have a difficult time functioning in almost any aspect of life. Low back pain interferes with work, prevents the pursuit of pleasure, limits physical activity, creates severe psycho-emotional stress and can actually cause patients to live a life of total disability. This is certainly a hard sentence to bear, especially when the diagnosed cause of pain is rarely the real reason for symptoms!
Lower back ache is a term which encompasses a plethora of spinal conditions medically theorized to be symptomatic in most patients. Herniated lumbar discs, spinal stenosis, neurological impingement, sciatica, muscle imbalance, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and piriformis syndrome are some of the most common diagnoses made upon patients complaining of lower back pain. Although the diversity of these diagnoses is rich indeed, the subsequent therapy options are strikingly similar and not coincidently, generally ineffective.
It is common knowledge in the medical professions that most diagnosed spinal abnormalities are rarely symptomatic and exist in a great number of people who experience no pain whatsoever. Why then are these same spinal conditions blamed for pain in patients who are symptomatic, even when the anatomical clinical impression of the condition does not match the symptoms experienced? The answer to this question is simple and somewhat sinister. Even doctors sometimes require a scapegoat. After all, informing one patient that you can not discover the actual cause of their pain is barely acceptable, but telling millions of miserable souls this news would certainly banish all faith in the medical community. Therefore, the burden of blame is placed on these coincidental and innocent spinal conditions which are not normally the cause of any serious or chronic pain.
Treatment for lower back ache is often a mixed bag of traditional, alternative and complementary therapies. The traditional medical approach focuses on a progressively more drastic and invasive series of treatments which usually starts with physical therapy and drugs, advances to epidural injections and more drugs and ends with surgery and even more drugs, as a last ditch effort to cure the unresolved pain. Alternative and complementary therapies are likely to include massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, Reiki, Alexander Technique, electrotherapy, spinal decompression, dietary alteration and postural correction. Outside of spinal decompression and surgery, the rest of these treatments are symptomatic in nature, meaning they attack the pain, but do nothing to cure the underlying causative condition. Why are these treatments the accepted methods for treating back pain? Once again, the answer is painfully obvious.
is a conundrum to most doctors. They do not know why it is so virulent. They need to do something to help patients so they continue to use processes that offer some relief, some of the time. The best part is that most doctors do not even know why many of these treatments sometimes actually work! Back pain specialists realize that ischemia of the muscle and nerve tissues is the most common cause for all varieties of painful backs. Many accepted treatment modalities increase cellular oxygenation, providing short term symptomatic relief from the pain. This is the reason why some treatments provide symptomatic amelioration even when the reasons for that relief defy logic. This is also the reason why most treatments have little or no effect and even surgical correction often worsens the condition rather than curing it.
will only respond to appropriate treatment. Therapies directed at an incorrectly identified cause will not cure the pain. Blaming innocent and completely normal spinal conditions for long term symptoms is nonsensical and leads to the abysmal treatment results we see when studying the experiences of most patients with chronic pain. Only by accepting the logical explanation for low back pain will a patient find lasting relief. Ischemia is an insidious process which works behind the scenes, leaving little or no evidence of its presence. The most common cause of ischemic back pain is the psychosomatic interaction between the body and the subconscious mind. We have all heard the expression which states that we carry our troubles on our backs. Well in this case, the great philosophers of old were being quite literal. Now the idea of why modern medicine has been powerless to stop low back pain from ruining lives makes much more sense. After all, the medical industry basically denies the psychosomatic process when it comes to the cause of back pain. This is especially hypocritical, since the psychosomatic process is the accepted cause of other, less profitable conditions throughout the healthcare spectrum…
Is it all about money? Is it all about pride? Does the medical industry simply want to propagate accepted myths instead of mark progress against a known destroyer of lives? When it comes to lower back pain, I will leave it up to you to decide…
Adam Rostocki is the founder of the Cure Back Pain Network and a noted dorsalgia scholar.
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