A Review of Back Pain Treatments
Back pain affects millions of people each and every year.
For many, their lives are never the same.
Unfortunately, many people suffer for weeks, months and even
years unnecessarily and one of the reasons is a lack of good
Much of the information that is given to people regarding
back pain is out-dated, inaccurate and often dangerous!
So the purpose of this is to educate you about many of the
treatments that are available for back pain.
But before we get started, itâ€™s important you know that very
rarely is one treatment the answer. Back pain is often times
a complex problem and it often requires treatments that address
multiple areas simultaneously.
Also, my experience working with tens of thousands of back
pain sufferers has shown that, the people who get lasting relief
are the ones who are constantly researching and experimenting
with as many treatments as possible.
Ok, letâ€™s review some of the many treatments that are available
for back pain and sciatica:
One of the first places many people go when they experience
back pain is the orthopedic specialist (surgeon) and a visit
usually last 5-10 minutes. They will typically look at the problem/symptomatic
area and often fail to look at the body as a whole.
If you've been to an orthopedic specialist for your back
pain, did they do a full body physical evaluation (takes 30
mins. or more)??? Not likely.
Here are some of the common treatments used / prescribed
by orthopedic specialists:
Cortisone is a catabolic steroid which is intended to reduce
inflammation by killing off the tissue in the inflamed areaâ€¦
now let me ask you, does that make any sense to you at all?
Not only are these injections quite painful, but they rarely
result in any pain relief and if they do it is short lived,
usually 1-2 weeks if at all. Plus, it does NOTHING to identify
or address the cause of the painâ€¦ it is only intended to treat
the symptom. Itâ€™s for those reasons that we do not recommend
Just the name should scare you awayâ€¦ just like cortisone
shots, anti-inflammatory medications do not identify or address
the cause of your pain and for many people, they deliver little
pain relief. These medications also deliver serious side effects!
The main reason they are prescribed is moneyâ€¦ and if you donâ€™t
believe me, do the research and youâ€™ll see for yourself. The
drug industry is huge and unfortunately, they have a huge influence
on the whole medical community, including the doctors.
I challenge you to find a drug that will fix your back problemâ€¦
youâ€™ll be looking forever because there is no way a medication
can fix a physical problem so avoid medications at all costs!
Surgery for back pain is very common and more often than
not, the individual still has pain afterwards (or it returns
within weeks) and sometimes even new problems! Very rarely is
a surgery the answer...
For example, many people have surgery for herniated discs.
The logic behind the surgery is if you remove the piece/portion
of the disc that is putting pressure on the nerve the problem
Unfortunately, the same forces that forced that disc to protrude
or bulge will likely force more of the disc out, or another
Surgery should always be the last resort... and even then
I'd question it!
Physical Therapy is traditionally the next step after seeing
an Orthopedic Doctor. That is if surgery is not recommended.
So what should you expect?
The process will start with an evaluation and here may be
the start of the problemâ€¦ here is whyâ€¦. the doctor has to write
a prescription with a diagnosis on it.
You give the prescription to the PT and he or she will perform
an evaluation... chances are the PT will simply confirm the
diagnosis from the doctor, however the hope should be that they
take the extra step to look for the root cause of your pain.
They may but chances are they have several other clients in
the office at the same time and simply do not have the time.
So without a comprehensive evaluation to identify the root
cause of you pain they will simply treat your symptoms. We have
just identified the second problem.
The health care industry is required to show improvement
with each and every session so the push is to reduce your symptoms
to show progress in order for them to get paid. The long and
short of it is that yes your pain can be reduced but the root
cause rarely gets addressed, meaning that the pain and your
suffering will return again and again.
So what should you do? When selecting a Physical Therapy
office you may want to ask how many patients the office sees
in a day and how many PTs they have on staff... then ask how
many patients can a PT work with in an hour. Do not be surprised
to hear that a PT can see up to three patients in an hour. Do
you think you will get the attention and proper treatments you
need? I doubt it.
There is a little joke in Physical Therapy when treating
patients and it has to do with what course of modalities you
will get. The joke is called Shake and Bake and it refers to
the fact that everyone gets the same treatment protocolâ€¦ that
way it can be timed so that your PT can see other people simultaneously.
What goes into a shake and bake treatment? It may start with
a spin on a stationary bike or a trot a treadmill than you will
get a 3 to 5 minute Ultrasound over the effected area followed
by Electrical Stimulation to the area with a little Ice strapped
to your body and to finish off your session you will get a hand
out with exercises you should do at home. Certainly not a recipe
One of the most common treatments for back pain is Chiropractic
Care. The approach consists of physical manipulations of bones
and joints in an attempt to line things back up and it's
recommended typically 2-3 times per week.
The problem with this approach is that the same forces (muscles,
tendons, and ligaments) will likely pull the bones and joints
right back out of place again. Also, most (not all) chiropractors
will spend 15 minutes with you if your lucky.
Ask people who see a chiropractor how long theyâ€™ve been goingâ€¦
I hear of people who have been going for 10-15 years and still
donâ€™t have a healthy back. Look, the fact is chiropractic care
Unless the chiropractor combines the two approaches, it doesnâ€™t
The ONLY way chiropractic care makes sense is if you are
addressing the muscle imbalances that are pulling the bones
and joints out of place to begin with and that requires strengthening
and stretching exercises that are chosen specifically to correct
your muscle imbalances.
Alternative Treatments for Treating Back Pain
Massage therapy, if done correctly can work wonders for people
with back pain. This is not to say that it is the best choice
and that it will work for everyoneâ€¦ however, most people will
get great results from it if the massage therapist has a good
understanding of muscle imbalances and how to work on them.
NOTE: Not all massage therapists are the same! Just like
any profession, there are varying degrees of training and qualifications.
When selecting a massage therapist please check to see if they
are licensed and insured in the state where you will be seeing
You should also ask the massage therapist if they have training
in one of the following areas: Orthopedic massage, Medical massage,
St. Johns technique and/or has a comprehensive knowledge of
muscle imbalances relating to back pain.
With that said the benefits are as follows. The root cause
will be identified, your discomfort will be addressed and you
root cause will be corrected all in an attempt to make you pain
free and give you the tools you need to keep you that way. What
to expect when you see a massage therapist.
All massage sessions are one on one allowing you the opportunity
to converse with the therapist as well as get the attention
you need to get results. You can ask questions about how you
compare to other people.
Feel free to ask the therapist what approach they will be
taking so that you know what to expect. The massage therapist
has many different techniques they can use when to dealing with
you back pain and some are better than others.
On the down side sometimes a therapist can get distracted
with other problem areas, it is in your best interest to keep
them focused on you back and associated problem areas. Like
anything else you may need to try several different therapists
before finding the one that works best for you and with you.
Post-rehabilitation Fitness Training
Another overlooked form of treatment that is very effective
is post-rehabilitation fitness training. This includes targeted
strength and flexibility work to correct / improve the individuals
muscle imbalances. This is specialized knowledge that very few
fitness trainers possess and there are certification programs
designed specifically for this.
There are of course, limitations as to what they can do for
you. For example, they can not diagnose a condition, prescribe
any medications take x-rays, etcâ€¦ however, if they are well
trained they can pinpoint your muscle imbalances quickly and
get you started on a fitness program that will restore balance
to your body and likely eliminate your back pain.
Often times this can be combined with massage therapy and/or
manual physical therapy for a total solution. If you decide
to go this route, which I recommend you do, be sure to thoroughly
check out the fitness trainer and ask to see their certification,
insurance, references, etc.
Manual Physical (muscle) Therapy
Manual Physical Therapy is NOT the same as regular physical
therapyâ€¦ there are some major differences. Here are just a few:
- Manual therapy consists of hands on muscle work primarily
whereas traditional physical therapy consists of heat, ice,
ultrasound, electrical stimulation, etc
- Manual therapist will typically perform a much more
thorough physical evaluation
- Manual therapists will usually be able to spend more
time with each patient
- Manual therapy is more holistic in itâ€™s approach and
focuses the body as a whole unitâ€¦ something lacking from
nearly all traditional treatments for back pain.
So before you say, â€œIâ€™ve already tried physical therapyâ€â€¦
did you try manual physical therapy? They are two very different
treatment approaches and I highly recommend you consider manual
As you can see traditional treatments are the main stay of
modern medicineâ€¦ not necessarily for the patients benefit, but
itâ€™s just how the system works.
The system will not change until the system is confronted
with a very powerful competitive force. That force may well
be complementary or alternative care from the likes of Personal
Trainers, Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists, Manual Physical
Therapists, and the like.
So thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve tried to doâ€¦ force change. The traditional
treatments that people have been receiving for decades just
donâ€™t work, and we have found a combination approach that not
only works the best, but itâ€™s safe, natural, and inexpensive.
Check out our â€œLose the Back Painâ€ system nowâ€¦ it will show
you how to identify the cause of your back pain and then show
you the exact combination of steps to take to eliminate it.
If you have tried other treatments with little or no relief,
you owe it to yourself to try this approachâ€¦ so take charge
of your health and get started now working towards not only
a pain free back, but a healthy and balanced body! Only you
can fix your backâ€¦ all you need is the right approach.
For Further Reading