The three most dangerous back pain treatments are also the most common. They are medications, injections, and surgery. Unfortunately, patients (and most healthcare practitioners) don’t realize these treatments only mask the pain for a while. They don’t treat what’s causing the back to hurt in the first place.
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Medication does not Treat the Root Problem
Medication is by far the most common treatment given to people with back pain. They fall into two categories:
Anti-inflammatories may reduce pain, but they do nothing to help the root problem, they have a good number of side-effects, and they can actually delay the healing process, because inflammation is required for our body to progress naturally through the healing phases.
Two-thirds of people that have accidental overdoses from opioids started taking opioids because they had a movement-related (musculoskeletal) pain problem. That’s 70,000 accidental overdoses annually. These patients had a musculoskeletal problem for which their doctor prescribed an opioid pain reliever. But as time goes on, an opioid’s ability to relieve pain becomes less effective, so people tend to start taking more and more pain reliever without realizing they are in danger of overdosing.
Injections don’t Fix the Real Problem
In a 2015 review of the medical literature, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found no evidence that epidural steroid injections were effective in treating symptoms of spinal stenosis or typical low back pain. Injections can stop pain symptoms for a short time, but the pain returns. And spinal injections are dangerous.
A recent FDA statement warns that injections of the active medication (glucocorticoids steroids) into the epidural space of the spine could result in rare but serious neurological problems including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death.
Another study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, advised physicians to refrain from recommending injection therapy to patients with any kind of chronic back pain, such as disc herniation and sciatica.
Surgery does not Correct the Root Cause
According to medical research studies, right now in the U.S. even the best spine surgeon has only a 50% success rate in relieving back pain for spinal fusion patients. Statistics are even worse for other back surgeries. Most don’t relive back pain long-term because they are not fixing the root cause of the back pain.
In the case of spinal fusion surgery, it can actually be making the problem worse. This surgery is performed to fix a bulging (herniated) disc, where a small part ofone of the rubbery cushions (disks) that sit between the bones (vertebrae) protrudes. The surgeon fuses the spine to eliminate the movement between the discs in that area and keep the bulge from returning.
The problem with this is that the spine needs to move. It has a limited range of motion, but that motion needs to be there. The reason the disc bulged in the first place is because the patient’s upper back or lower body weren’t moving enough and put excess strain on the back, asking it to move more than it should. Now that a portion of the spine can’t move at all, and the patient still has poor movement in the upper back or lower body, the areas of spine above and below that fused disc will have to move more than they should. Now those areas will get damaged and start to cause new pain and create bulging discs in new areas of the spine. The patient is worse off than when they began!
In college, I struggled with severe back pain. I tried medications, from which I nearly overdosed, injections, and finally surgery. The surgeon removed a disc bulge from my spine. He took away the disc bulge, but he didn't fix the root problem. That's why two weeks after my disc bulge was removed, it came back in the same location. I was told I needed another surgery. No way!
Instead, when I started physical therapy school, I discovered that the right kind of physical therapy can get the hips and upper back moving properly, fix the excessive motion in the spine, and allow the bulging disc to heal. No need for medications, injections, or surgery, and no more back pain.
It’s important to know that back pain is usually caused by gradual-onset, cumulative trauma that is going to get worse over time if you just ignore or seek the three most dangerous treatments. I've been there, done that, and it's not a good path to go down.
To learn more, request the FREE book , The Truth about Low Back Pain, by https://www.lowbackpainsucks.com/
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