Back pain tips can assist patients in finding symptomatic relief, progressing towards recovery and even enjoying true and lasting cures. Unfortunately, not all tips are logical, enlightened or even possible to implement. In many instances, bad advice might get a patient into more trouble than they ever had before.
At The Cure Back Pain Network, we have been working for years to provide patients with objective recommendations for treating back and neck pain, regardless of the diagnosed causation. We do not give advice lightly, since we know how damaging it can be to provide any patient with an incorrect, impossible to achieve or financially-motivated treatment tip.
We are often put in the position of being asked to provide universal advice for patients, without knowing much about their specific conditions. Of course, this is quite impossible for us to do in good faith, with our strong ethical convictions. That being said, we have experience helping over six hundred thousand (600,000) people to find relief from dorsalgia, according to the documented feedback provided by the readers who have taken our famous back pain survey.
In this essay, we use our vast experience to provide some truly universal tips for patients, regardless of what type of pain affects them or what treatment recommendations have been advised by their care providers.
No matter what type of pain a patient has, there are certain criteria that must be kept in mind when seeking diagnostic evaluation. We make these factors well known throughout our sites, since the diagnostic phase is where most patients end up on the wrong path towards fruitless treatment. Here are our best tips for achieving a satisfying diagnostic process:
Never forget that the type of doctor you see will greatly influence the diagnosis pronounced. We see evidence of this every day in our own practices and patient advocacy efforts. A patient who consults a chiropractor, a neurologist and a massage therapist will likely be classified as suffering from 3 very different origins of pain. This is statistical fact. Nothing has changed in the patient’s anatomy. They still only demonstrate a single actual causation of pain. The question remains, “Which caregiver, if any, got the diagnosis correct?”
Remember that back pain treatment providers are often heavily motivated by money. If they can not treat a patient, then they do not get paid. This financial motivation certainly influences the diagnosis made and the treatments recommended. Traditional medical science is a business. Complementary medical science is a less regulated business. Alternative medical science is virtually unregulated and is certainly a hugely profitable industry.
Diagnostic eclecticism is a sign that something is wrong. When different care providers all diagnose different causes of pain, someone, if not everyone, is wrong. This is a simple logical fact. Patients who are labeled with multiple diagnostic verdicts must be particularly cautious before seeking treatment.
Be sure that the diagnostic process has been fully and correctly completed before listening to a single word that any care provider has to say. Each day, we see cases where chiropractors diagnose herniated discs without the benefit of diagnostic imaging studies, usually just from a ridiculous “straight leg raising test”. We see examples of massage therapists diagnosing myofascial pain with no evidence of such a process occurring. We see physicians making no definitive diagnosis, yet still providing tons of powerful and dangerous drugs to patients. All of these examples, and more, make us know for sure that incomplete and inconclusive evaluations are commonplace during the diagnostic process.
Patients make a serious mistake by seeing one care provider and never seeking a second opinion before moving into the treatment phase. This is one of the most preventable miscalculations demonstrated by virtually every patient we encounter.
Once past the hazards of diagnosis, patients will want to begin action steps towards resolving their pain. This aspect of care can be just as confusing as the diagnostic evaluation and the consequences of incorrect choices can maim or kill; literally. Therefore, we offer these pieces of wisdom for patients who want to improve back or neck therapy outcomes:
Symptomatic care is the rule of thumb when it comes to conservative back pain treatment. Virtually all methods of therapy are geared towards helping to reduce the severity of symptoms, rather than actually targeting the underlying origin of pain, if that source was even correctly discovered. If you can name 10 back pain treatments, odds are that 9 of them are symptomatic and will never provide cures. They will, however, generate lots and lots of money for providers, which is why they exist in the first place.
Unnecessary spinal surgery recommendations are incredibly common. We see tens of thousands of patients recommended for spinal surgery each year, without any indication that an operation is necessary or even that it stands a fair hope of being successful. Most spinal surgeries are not needed and most also demonstrate horrific curative statistics, especially when evaluated several years post-surgery.
On the other hand, some conditions should be treated with surgery immediately, especially when the diagnosis is verified and the condition is known not to respond to noninvasive care. However, care providers like to “milk” the patient, or their insurance carrier, for the most money, so they will drag out the treatment process for years before finally recommending surgical action. This greed costs patients years of their lives, untold amounts of pain and sometimes, even their lives.
Long-term use of pharmaceutical therapy is always dangerous. There are no safe drugs. All of these substances are harmful to the body in some way and the longer they are used, the worse the effects become. Patients who continue to use drugs for back or neck pain relief demonstrate a statistical propensity for anatomical damage, addiction problems, degeneration into illicit activity and increased rates of suicide.
Finally, there are certain tips that can help patients to move towards a full and enduring recovery. This is true regardless of what diagnosis affects them, what type of treatments they attempt and what steps they take towards maximizing the efficacy of both of the above processes. Our best recovery tips include:
Patients must understand that chronic pain is often idiopathic and can not be definitively traced to a source process. Not having a diagnosis is better than having an incorrect diagnosis. Treating nothing is better than treating the wrong thing. Some patients truly end up better learning to manage pain all by themselves, without ongoing conservative care or invasive surgical barbarism, especially if they are not convinced of the accuracy of the diagnostic therapies applied to them.
Patients must remember that pain is a perception and can be minimized, regardless of the cause. There are many holistic methods of care that address the entire individual, rather than compartmentalizing the patient into anatomical regions. General wellness care practices are statistically more effective than diagnostic-targeting therapies for patient satisfaction. If we had to classify back pain treatment, it would fit into the common category of “disease and injury care”; certainly not “healthcare”.
The mind and body are both involved in every chronic pain condition. It is always wise to examine the psychoemotional contributors to pain, as well as the physical. Stress, emotional anguish, regret, fear and personality-type all can maximize pain. Luckily, psychoemotional therapies can help to minimize symptoms, regardless of the cause.
Our final recommendation is the most universally applicable. If you read our sites regularly, then it is common knowledge to you already. Patients must take active roles in their own care. Doctors are extremely knowledgeable, but since the body being treated belongs to the patient, it is that patient who must be the leader of the care team. They must be involved in every decision making process. Failure to step-up into this role is the single most influential factor in the epidemic incidence of unsatisfying therapy outcomes.
Get involved and get better. For many patients, it really is that simple. You must advocate on your own behalf. You must become an expert researcher. You already have all the tools you need. Just put them to use. In the end, you will be happy that you did.