Back pain cause and effect is a fascinating topic that describes the growing debate about which symptomatic expressions cause pain and which result from pain. While this discussion can be applied throughout the healthcare sector, it is particularly associated with back ache and the various spinal conditions that are deemed responsible for enacting said pain.
Cause and effect are defined as origin and consequence. Basically, this means that the cause is the root source of the effect. However, when it comes to back pain, the latest research clearly shows that medical science currently embraces many misconceptions about which condition is truly responsible for causing the usual expressions of dorsalgia. Luckily, the tide is turning and doctors are becoming more objective on their view of the true nature of acute and chronic dorsal pain.
This interesting dialog paints vivid pictures about the cause and effect relationships between various spinal conditions and pathologies. This treatise is must-read material for anyone who has been diagnosed with the most common forms of back or neck pain.
Cause and effect seems like a simple concept. One suspected source problem comes into being and subsequently causes a consequence. The modern medical sector relies heavily on the idea of cause and effect, since this concept tells doctors which condition is the root causation and which is merely a symptomatic expression of that root causation.
For example, fever is a common effect of many causes, including viral or bacterial contamination on a systemic level. If doctors did not utilize cause and effect theory, they would spend their time trying to manage the fever, rather than finding effectively ways of curing the underlying cause; the infection.
When it comes to the spine, a great example of proven cause and consequence is the relationship between disc desiccation and the formation of osteoarthritis. The disc degeneration brings the vertebral bones closer together, increasing the frequency and severity of interactions, resulting in the types of universal arthritic changes we see in the cervical and lumbar regions of virtually every adult person.
For many years, the medical sector has studied cause and effect in regards to back pain. Many parameters for treatment have been put in place based on cause and effect findings. In fact, the entire modern dorsalgia therapy sector presupposes that pain is almost always linked to some spinal (or at least structural) source.
More recently in research science, doctors have discovered that cause and effect is not so simple and clearly defined. In fact, it seems that in many cases, they have misunderstood what is actually creating pain and what actually constitutes true cause and true consequence.
There are countless examples of cause and effect controversies that now exist in the back and neck pain treatment arena. Many doctors have made up their mind that what was deemed correct in the past, still holds 100% true. Other doctors have swung around to the opposing viewpoint, saying that cause is actually effect and effect is actually cause.
More often than not, doctors are just as confused by the often contrasting research statistics that exist and have yet to decide definitively on which is which when it comes to the following debated examples of cause and consequence:
Generally, the idea of muscular versus spinal causation and consequence can be applied to many scenarios. Usually, spinal abnormalities are blamed for coming into being and then influencing the surrounding musculature via innervation concerns.
Herniated discs and related muscular expressions are the most common specific cause and effect controversy. Doctors typically subscribe to the idea that intervertebral herniations occur and impinge on nerve tissues, thereby causing innervation problems for muscles. This results in the common pain, cramping and contractions seen in many patients. However, there is growing evidence that it is the muscles that spasm and cramp first, thereby causing the spine to misalign and discs to bulge.
Great examples of confusing disc-related cause and consequence symptomology are the many cases we have seen wherein a person suffers a single level lumbar herniation, but demonstrates changing and severe sciatica that affects the entire leg. In these cases, the patient also tests positive for piriformis syndrome. While this dual diagnosis might lead to poor treatment results in many patients, it is obvious that the herniation is causing the limited expression of piriformis cramping, which subsequently clamps down on the fully formed sciatic nerve, causing the diversity of expressions in the leg. This is multi-level cause and effect.
Lordotic changes, such as those seen in loss of cervical lordosis, loss of lumbar lordosis, reversal of lumbar lordosis and reversal of cervical lordosis are classic cause and effect controversies. In the traditional view, the lordosis would change and cause the subsequent muscular spasms and pain. However, many doctors have now switched their stance that muscular factors are often the root cause behind the spinal curvature alterations, rather than the results of them.
This same theory can be applied throughout the back and neck pain sectors, including the muscular results or causation of increased spinal stenosis, the results or causation of certain types of scoliosis and many other arguable points in the diagnostic realm.
Cause and effect can even be applied to the mindbody realm of care, as well. Now, many medical professionals realize that psychological and emotional factors might be the true cause of anatomical changes.
Even when a primary mindbody cause does not exist, the psychoemotional state of the patient is proven to influence the way any bodily condition progresses and the ways in which it will affect the patient, including the degree of pain to be suffered.
More doctors are ceasing to believe that depression is a result of chronic pain and instead embracing that possibility that the depression is actually the psychogenic causation of health problems. This applies to anxiety, stress and emotional repression, as well.
The mindbody sector of medicine certainly has taught mainstream medical science some new tricks and this is still an infant field of specialty within the greater healthcare realm.
Personally, I believe that both sides of the debate can be correct. However the opposing sides are never both right when they disagree on the cause and effect of a specific patient’s condition.
What this means is that in some cases, the traditional spinal view might be correct in terms of which cause drives which consequence. In other cases, the evolving view of muscular causation is often right in the diagnostic pronouncement. However, when it comes to any given patient, only one side can be right.
This continuing debate is yet another factor that is currently perpetuating and escalating the back pain epidemic. Depending on which doctor a patient sees, and the ideology that doctor embraces, diagnosis and treatment recommendations range wildly.
There is no standard, which is a good thing, since the set standard failed more patients than it ever helped. However, since many doctors are still off-course when it comes to ascertaining the true cause of pain, versus the actual effects, more and more patients continue to suffer without hope for cures. All this occurs while these very same doctors get ever-wealthier from their blunders, false assumptions, iatrogenesis and abysmal results.
On the topic of cause and consequence, I surely do not have any universal solution. However, I stand behind the major medical associations which are currently calling for massive revisions in the way back and neck pain are diagnosed and subsequently treated. Something must be done to help the hundreds of millions of people who suffer with these terrible afflictions worldwide.
The first step in providing this assistance is surely narrowing down the actual causes of pain and separating them from their obvious consequences. Otherwise, the best we can ever hope to achieve is guess-driven versions of symptomatic treatment, while cures will remain far out of reach for virtually every back pain victim.