There is a seemingly endless variety of approaches to treating back pain. Some methods are tested and true, while others are almost comical.
One of the main criteria for a treatment to be effective is that the patient believes that it will work. The placebo effect is alive and well in the back pain industry.
This explains why so many patients find temporary relief from some methods, but rarely enjoy lasting symptomatic resolution.
Back pain treatment involves many different healing arts and sciences, including traditional medicine, alternative medicine and complementary medicine.
There are back pain specialists representing orthopedics, neurology, chiropractic and physical therapy, among other areas of focus.
It can be very confusing for a patient to know what type of doctor to see to treat their symptoms and what type of therapy should be used. As many wise doctors have written in the past, an over diversity of treatment choices often indicates a problem with diagnostic clarity. When it comes to treating back pain, I could not agree more.
For the sake of this discussion, a treatment is very different than a true cure:
Treatments work on controlling the symptoms of the diagnosed condition. Treatments must be continuously maintained for them to be helpful and are usually a form of dependency.
Cures work on ending or correcting the actual underlying source of the problem. A cure is a solution to the pain and will not require ongoing maintenance.
Please take note that a back pain treatment typically provides purely symptomatic relief, while a back pain cure will work to resolve the underlying causative reasons for the pain to exist, instead of merely treating the pain itself.
It is crucial for patients to understand this difference and keep the distinction in mind as they pursue therapy for their back ache concerns. I always recommend talking to your chosen care provider and asking them which category their services will fall into. Make sure to demand an honest answer.
Some effective methods of care do not qualify as treatments or cures, yet still demonstrate great results for minimizing the perception of pain, increasing functionality and improving overall life quality. The best example of this type of modality is coaching for back pain.
Below are listed many of the most common and popular approaches to treating back pain. The actual number of available therapies is staggering; so many patients do not even know where to begin.
We always recommend finding a good doctor first and talking to them about your options. Getting a second opinion is a great idea and consulting with more than one type of doctor is also statistically beneficial.
Read more about all the available back pain treatments in the following essays:
Chiropractic is now the third largest healthcare profession. Chiropractic is no longer considered alternative medicine, but instead, is a respected a mainstay of back and neck pain treatment.
Acupuncture and its counterpart acupressure, offer effective pain management, without the risks of pharmaceutical treatment. Both of these practices come from the larger science of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Some patients have found relief using a specialized form of ear acupuncture called auriculotherapy.
Massage therapy and specifically, massage for back pain, are great symptomatic care practices that can improve functionality and reduce pain. There are many specific types of hands-on therapies available to back pain sufferers, including reflexology, Rolfing, and the increasingly popular active release techniques. Although there are many styles of massage, shiatsu deserves special mention since so many back pain patients report good results from treatment.
Alexander Technique is a system of postural coaching that can help many people who suffer from chronic health issues. Other forms of posture therapy also exist to assist back pain patients to find relief.
Physical therapy is one of the most often utilized approaches towards back pain care. Most PT uses specially-designed exercises for back pain and a few varieties, such as McKenzie treatment, have focused on treating the dorsal region.
Knowledge therapy transcends treatment and aspires to cure by addressing the actual underlying origin of mindbody pain syndromes.
Magnetic therapy places faith in theorized properties of magnets to improve health.
Spinal decompression is a highly effective form of nonsurgical care for specific back and neck pain issues.
Back pain relief products range from innovative to exploitative. Buyers must beware that many scam products exist in the marketplace.
Back surgery is traditionally used for many diagnoses, but research has shown the ineffectiveness of many procedures, as well as highlighted their significant risk factors.
Pain management is a large field of medicine that encompasses many offerings, but typically focuses on drug interventions.
Iontophoresis describes a system of transdermal drug introduction.
Homeopathy is a controversial field of healthcare that incorporates back and neck therapies.
Ayurvedic treatment is a traditional Indian healthcare system still used by millions of people today.
Lasers are used for back pain management, wound healing and many other objectives within the back pain care sector.
Back pain diets might play some role in reducing pain and improving health.
Breast reduction is an alternative approach to treating pain that is thought to be enacted by large mammary organs.
Symptomatic back pain treatment is the rule of thumb in the dorsopathy sector, since long-term care is highly profitable. Cures are rare and ongoing therapy is the norm.
Although medical back pain treatments are the industry standard, most demonstrate horrific cure rates and some even do far more damage than good.
Alternative treatments for back pain allow patients to bypass the often frustratingly ineffective typical medical therapies.
However, traditional back pain treatments are still the most popular choices among patients, despite the rapid growth of the complementary care system.
Holistic treatments for back pain are perfect conceptually, since they address mind, body and spirit issues, but many are misguided and based more on folklore than science.
Nonsurgical back pain treatment should always be a top priority and patients should only consider surgery if it is an absolute necessity and all more conservative choices have failed.
The most important factor in finding a successful back pain remedy is achieving an accurate back pain diagnosis.
Learn the differences between medical treatment and osteopathy for back pain.
Back pain treatment is a huge industry. The implications of a widely accepted cure for common back pain would be disastrous for our healthcare system.
Every year healthcare providers invent new and improved versions of long-term treatments, while almost no work is done on curing the back pain epidemic plaguing the world today.
Learn more about seeking back pain treatment abroad using medical tourism.
Treating back pain is not just for doctors anymore. The variety of care providers is huge and there are good and bad practitioners in every healing art. Whatever treatment you choose, make sure you are confident in the care provider, as well as the treatment itself.
I can’t help but say it one more time: Treatments are designed to keep the patient under care of the health provider. They are a form of dependency. They can be a form of virtual slavery. After all, if the treatment ends, the patient will be back to suffering once again.
A cure is always preferable.
Following a comprehensive back care program can help prevent back pain before it begins. Preventing back pain is always far easy and more effective than treatment.
I have personally tried many of the options listed above. I think that it is worth the time and effort to find the right treatment choice, while you simultaneously try to find a true cure. For me, chiropractic was my longest-term (18 year) treatment of choice, combined with ice, heat, hydrotherapy and exercise. Luckily, I eventually discovered knowledge therapy, which turned out to be the closest thing I could find to a cure.