An aching back is no fun as a constant companion in life. Back pain is known to be a chronic treatment-defiant concern which can really diminish the joy of the human experience. While most minor back injuries heal in a matter of weeks, some patients endure years of nagging pain and functional limitations because of their unpredictable and agonizing spinal symptoms.
Chronic pain can come from more than just physical injury and age-related changes to the anatomy. It can also originate from the interactions of the mind and body. The need for treatment of these types of conditions has created a new healthcare specialty called mindbody medicine. This commentary explains how some patients have found relief using purely psychoemotional therapies to treat chronic pain in virtually all its forms.
Oh My Aching Back
Chronic back ache is generally diagnosed to be the direct result of a structural injury or a developed degenerative process. While these circumstances can certainly cause symptoms to exist, structural back pain, regardless of the diagnosed cause, generally responds well to appropriate treatment options. In essence, if something is broken or injured, treatment should resolve and heal it fully. Remember that the primary concern of the body is to heal itself naturally. Very few injuries will cause chronic pain, despite their possible severity.
The overwhelming majority of back pain patients can surely tell you that their symptoms have not healed, despite a seemingly endless procession of attempted therapy modalities. Their pain remains unresolved, regardless of having attained a seemingly concrete medical diagnosis, with a multitude of indicated therapy options having already been attempted. This is one of many proofs positive that most instances of enduring back pain are certainly more than they seem; and less, as well…
Back Ache Reality
Medical science relies heavily on theories which are known to be incorrect, when it comes to diagnosing back pain.
Let us say it again:
The ideas used to support the vast majority of back pain explanations are known to be wrong by research science.
How do doctors get away with blaming long-term pain on mostly coincidental factors in the spine, such as universal degenerative changes, minor structural abnormalities and insignificant transient injury? They get away with it because no one questions them. Until now. The leading relevant medical associations have recently strongly cautioned member physicians not to blame chronic pain on what amounts to normal spinal degeneration or structural irregularity.
Facts show that the most commonly implicated diagnosed causes of back pain, including conservative osteoarthritis, herniated discs, disc desiccation, and mild atypical curvature issues, have no inherently pathological components.
This means that these issues are not painful by nature and that no evidence shows them to cause back pain or neck pain, except where a definitive pathological process can be found and decisively proven. Personally, we see definitive proof of structural back pain in less than 10% of the patients who are diagnosed with it. What about the other 90%?
Aching Back Alternative Explanation
The following explanation surely does not apply to all. Saying that it did would be just as bad as the clueless doctors who blame all herniated discs or minor arthritis for causing pain. However, the ideas below contain great validity for some patients who suspect a mindbody link to their suffering.
Chronic back pain, just like any other form of chronic symptoms, might exist exclusively due to ischemia. This harmless, but extremely agonizing process is purposefully enacted by the subconscious mind, in an effort to camouflage deeply hidden, suppressed and repressed emotional issues.
Pain is a very effective diversion from these psychologically-charged issues, since it really fixes the attention of the conscious mind away from the emotional and unto the physical. Since the consciousness is fully focused on the anatomical pain, it does not have the resources or ability to search the subconscious for any emotional trouble, which is destined to remain locked away there, imprisoned and languishing for all time.
This might seem like a convoluted explanation to some patients who do not understand the psychosomatic process, but the reality of psychoemotional back pain has been proven by some of the best trained and enlightened specialists in the industry, including Dr. John E. Sarno, of the world famous NYU Medical Center/Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Manhattan.
Maybe you can’t see how physical pain could possibly be the result of a psychological process. Maybe you do not know that psychosomatic pain is universal in every human being, with the only variables being the location, duration and ferocity of the symptoms. Maybe you do not know that the very same processes involved in stress-related headaches and gastrointestinal concerns can also cause chronic aching back. Maybe it is time that you learned these truths.
We understand your doubt and apprehension. We shared them, as well.
However, being desperate for a cure after 18 long years of suffering, I opened my mind to the slightest chance that this theory was indeed possible. I simply took the time to learn all I could about the psychological reasons for back pain and the evidence was unconditionally convincing in every way and form. I used this knowledge to help treat my pain and have been helping others to conquer their back pain ever since.
Is this causative theory universally applicable? Definitely not. But, considering that there is no risk to learn more, and no financial cost at all, what do you have to lose?