Back pain treatment
Back pain treatment is a hotly debated topic for your personal health care. Every week you can read a least one research study that claims a popular, conventional back pain treatment is ineffective. Even the most established treatments such as physical therapy do not escape the headlines. Only recently a study from Warwick University (UK) found that one session just offering advice to back pain sufferers achieved the same results as six weeks of physiotherapy!
Of course, conducting such a large study is difficult as there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. What sort of back pain treatment was given? What was the quality and experience of the therapists used? Did the subject all have the same cause of back pain? Did they carry out the exercises or advice as instructed?
This last question is the big one in my view. All courses of back pain treatment usually involve some sort of exercise or instruction on how to sit, stand or move to reduce the stress on the back. But are we capable of following this advice? Most therapists in conventional medicine make the assumption that we can.
Muscular problem or something more complicated?
However, if back pain is not due to a specific medical condition is it usually a muscular problem. The human body is perfectly capable of supporting itself with minimal muscular effort. Postural muscles are ‘designed’ to provide long periods of sustained activity to keep us upright and balanced. The phasic muscles (or movement muscles) are for short bursts of activity such as lifting your arm or turning your head. This is a bit of a simplification because all muscles provide a mixture of both functions but it will do for this example.
I see many people who tighten their lower back muscles to sit and stand up straight – these are the wrong muscles! They should not be active to keep you upright, this should be a function performed by muscles higher up that will balance your upper body on your spine.
So if someone suffering with their back pain is not ‘using’ themselves correctly how are they suddenly supposed to know how to use it right for exercising or trying to correct their posture? This is why I believe conventional back pain treatment does not offer the best solution.
Physical therapy, osteopathic, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments do get results and I recommend people to get a diagnosis and initial help from a qualified practitioner. In the short-term, manipulative treatment will help to get you moving and back onto your feet. However, I do not see these therapies as a long-term solution because they rarely get to the cause of ‘misuse’ and you could find yourself returning to your therapist on a regular basis.
If you are looking to back pain treatment that address the cause of neck, back or shoulder pain you’ll need to go deeper. Your muscles are only doing what you tell them to do, but, and here is the big question,
Do you know what you are telling them to do? In place of exercise I believe a course of re-education will achieve far more by removing your bad habits that are causing your discomfort.
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