Back pain heresy… It has incurred the medical equivalent of the Spanish inquisition from traditionalists in the various therapy sectors. However, despite the desperate attempt of the back pain industry to hold on tightly to the antiquated and unenlightened theories inherent to the Cartesian model, proven research has even the most stubborn and pigheaded doctors wondering how long their profitable trades will last.
The heresy we are discussing in this article is the success of many alternative care modalities in comparison to the generally ineffectual accepted methods employed by the mainstream medical regime. It is well known that few back pain treatments ever provide a cure or even substantial symptomatic relief. The scope of this article will explore why this occurs and how some alternative explanations for chronic pain, which contradict traditional thought, make far more sense.
Heresy of Alternative Thought
The heresy we are talking about in this article is provided by a vocal and ever increasing number of physicians, psychologists and complementary therapists who realize that chronic pain, in virtually all its forms, is rarely caused by a structural event. While this theory has enjoyed some success in various healthcare niches, it is no more obvious than in the dorsopathy regime. Here, long-held beliefs linking back pain to structural spinal issues are being dismissed daily, as evidence mounts demonstrating little, if any, relationship between the spinal abnormalities thought to cause pain and the pain itself.
Take a random sample of the population and perform diagnostic imaging. A great number of the sample will have back pain, since the condition has reached hysterical proportions. The rest will have no history of ongoing pain. There is likely to be no correlation between the common spinal abnormalities located in the tests and the incidence of pain. Furthermore, the abnormalities found rarely correctly explain the pain in the patients who actually do show symptoms and potential structural sources.
Going one step further, patients with pain will report a mixed bag of treatment results, with indicated treatments faring no better than illogical therapies which do nothing to actually resolve the very conditions blamed for enacting pain.
This should raise a few eyebrows in a learned population, for sure, but is actually quite explainable once you understand the fact that many cases of chronic back pain are psychogenic or psychosomatically perpetuated.
When the very word psychosomatic is brought into a conversation, a patient is immediately put off. They will feel that their symptoms are being doubted and that the pain is accused of existing exclusively in the mind. Many take it as an insulting insinuation of mental illness or purposeful deception or exaggeration. This is a fact that doctors and therapists count on and the best ammunition they have in preserving their mostly outdated theories about exclusively structural pain models.
This treatise is not making sweeping generalizations about every case of back pain being psychosomatic. This would be foolish and just as unenlightened as the opposing point of every case being structurally-induced. The goal of this post is to simply present a balanced view of chronic pain from the mindbody perspective.
Innovative care providers like Dr. John Sarno have embraced a completely psychoemotional causation for most chronic pain concerns and have used a dedicated emotional remedy to cure countless numbers of patients.
Mind you, these patients were all diagnosed with an extensive list of varied spinal issues which were blamed without exception for sourcing their symptoms. The treatment provided used no medicine, no exercise, no manipulation and no physical modality whatsoever. The results are amazing and the envy of any doctor who treats back pain sufferers.
This type of knowledge therapy treatment has been in use for decades and is the subject of several books, many of which have made the NY Times Best Seller List. This is not science fiction. This is medical fact. To doctors, it is certainly back pain heresy and it threatens their economic bottom line, making it a very real problem.
So, back pain heresy? Sure, these heretical ideas qualify as such for the old medical regime which is hanging on by a thread, as the fabric of their world unravels around them. If it were up to these old school doctors, the world would still be flat, the sun would revolve around the earth and evolution would still be a subject punishable by death.