Low Back Pain? Just Say No to Surgery, MRI's & Meds

Key Points From NPR's: Pain In The Back? Exercise May Help You Learn Not To Feel It

-More than 1 in 4 adult Americans say they've recently suffered a bout of low-back pain. It's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. And more and more people are being treated for it.

-Many specialists say less treatment is usually more effective.71

-There's evidence that many standard treatments for back pain — surgery, spinal injections and painkillers — are often ineffective and can even worsen and prolong the problem. 

-Research suggests that 1 in 5 who have surgery for back pain end up having more surgery.

-Lots of people who are pain-free actually have terrible-looking MRIs. And among those who have MRI abnormalities and pain, many specialists question whether the abnormality is really the cause of the pain, and whether fixing it can make the pain go away.

-Research is showing that the pain often has nothing to do with the mechanics of the spine, but with the way the nervous system is behaving.  "It's a change in the way the sensory system is processing information.  Normal sensations of touch, sensations produced by movements, are translated by the nervous system into a pain message. That process is what drives people completely crazy who have back pain, because so many things produce discomfort."  This is a different way of thinking about pain. Normally pain is an alarm bell that says, "Stop what you're doing right now or you may hurt yourself!" But for many people, that pain is a false signal.  It's not about looming danger; it's actually caused by hypersensitive nerves.

-About 25% of patients with acute back trouble get stuck in an endless loop of pain. Chronic back pain is often due to persistent hypersensitivity of the nervous system.

-Physical Therapy can teach you to ignore your pain by gradually increasing the intensity of exercises designed not only to increase the strength and flexibility of the back, but also learn that it's OK to move normally again.

See the full article and listen to the show: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/13/255457090/pain-in-the-back-exercise-may-help-you-learn-not-to-feel-it

 

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