By Steve Hefferon,
Back pain affects millions of people each and every year. For
many, their lives are never the same.
Unfortunately, many people suffer for weeks, months and even
years unnecessarily and one of the reasons is a lack of good information.
Much of the information that is given to people regarding back
pain is out-dated, inaccurate and often dangerous!
So the purpose of this is to educate you about many of the treatments
that are available for back pain.
But before we get started, itï¿½s important you know that very
rarely is one treatment the answer. Back pain is often times a complex
problem and it often requires treatments that address multiple areas
Also, my experience working with tens of thousands of back pain
sufferers has shown that, the people who get lasting relief are
the ones who are constantly researching and experimenting with as
many treatments as possible.
Ok, letï¿½s review some of the many treatments that are available
for back pain and sciatica:
One of the first places many people go when they experience back
pain is the orthopedic specialist (surgeon) and a visit usually
last 5-10 minutes. They will typically look at the problem/symptomatic
area and often fail to look at the body as a whole.
If you've been to an orthopedic specialist for your back
pain, did they do a full body physical evaluation (takes 30 mins.
or more)??? Not likely.
Here are some of the common treatments used / prescribed by orthopedic
Cortisone is a catabolic steroid which is intended to reduce
inflammation by killing off the tissue in the inflamed areaï¿½ now
let me ask you, does that make any sense to you at all?
Not only are these injections quite painful, but they rarely
result in any pain relief and if they do it is short lived, usually
1-2 weeks if at all. Plus, it does NOTHING to identify or address
the cause of the painï¿½ it is only intended to treat the symptom.
Itï¿½s for those reasons that we do not recommend them.
Just the name should scare you awayï¿½ just like cortisone shots,
anti-inflammatory medications do not identify or address the cause
of your pain and for many people, they deliver little pain relief.
These medications also deliver serious side effects! The main reason
they are prescribed is moneyï¿½ and if you donï¿½t believe me, do the
research and youï¿½ll see for yourself. The drug industry is huge
and unfortunately, they have a huge influence on the whole medical
community, including the doctors.
I challenge you to find a drug that will fix your back problemï¿½
youï¿½ll be looking forever because there is no way a medication can
fix a physical problem so avoid medications at all costs!
Surgery for back pain is very common and more often than not,
the individual still has pain afterwards (or it returns within weeks)
and sometimes even new problems! Very rarely is a surgery the answer...
For example, many people have surgery for herniated discs. The
logic behind the surgery is if you remove the piece/portion of the
disc that is putting pressure on the nerve the problem is solved.
Unfortunately, the same forces that forced that disc to protrude
or bulge will likely force more of the disc out, or another disc
Surgery should always be the last resort... and even then I'd
Physical Therapy is traditionally the next step after seeing
an Orthopedic Doctor. That is if surgery is not recommended. So
what should you expect?
The process will start with an evaluation and here may be the
start of the problemï¿½ here is whyï¿½. the doctor has to write a prescription
with a diagnosis on it.
You give the prescription to the PT and he or she will perform
an evaluation... chances are the PT will simply confirm the diagnosis
from the doctor, however the hope should be that they take the extra
step to look for the root cause of your pain. They may but chances
are they have several other clients in the office at the same time
and simply do not have the time.
So without a comprehensive evaluation to identify the root cause
of you pain they will simply treat your symptoms. We have just identified
the second problem.
The health care industry is required to show improvement with
each and every session so the push is to reduce your symptoms to
show progress in order for them to get paid. The long and short
of it is that yes your pain can be reduced but the root cause rarely
gets addressed, meaning that the pain and your suffering will return
again and again.
So what should you do? When selecting a Physical Therapy office
you may want to ask how many patients the office sees in a day and
how many PTs they have on staff... then ask how many patients can
a PT work with in an hour. Do not be surprised to hear that a PT
can see up to three patients in an hour. Do you think you will get
the attention and proper treatments you need? I doubt it.
There is a little joke in Physical Therapy when treating patients
and it has to do with what course of modalities you will get. The
joke is called Shake and Bake and it refers to the fact that everyone
gets the same treatment protocolï¿½ that way it can be timed so that
your PT can see other people simultaneously.
What goes into a shake and bake treatment? It may start with
a spin on a stationary bike or a trot a treadmill than you will
get a 3 to 5 minute Ultrasound over the effected area followed by
Electrical Stimulation to the area with a little Ice strapped to
your body and to finish off your session you will get a hand out
with exercises you should do at home. Certainly not a recipe for
One of the most common treatments for back pain is Chiropractic
Care. The approach consists of physical manipulations of bones and
joints in an attempt to line things back up and it's recommended
typically 2-3 times per week.
The problem with this approach is that the same forces (muscles,
tendons, and ligaments) will likely pull the bones and joints right
back out of place again. Also, most (not all) chiropractors will
spend 15 minutes with you if your lucky.
Ask people who see a chiropractor how long theyï¿½ve been goingï¿½
I hear of people who have been going for 10-15 years and still donï¿½t
have a healthy back. Look, the fact is chiropractic care is lackingï¿½
Unless the chiropractor combines the two approaches, it doesnï¿½t
The ONLY way chiropractic care makes sense is if you are addressing
the muscle imbalances that are pulling the bones and joints out
of place to begin with and that requires strengthening and stretching
exercises that are chosen specifically to correct your muscle imbalances.
Alternative Treatments for Treating Back Pain
Massage therapy, if done correctly can work wonders for people
with back pain. This is not to say that it is the best choice and
that it will work for everyoneï¿½ however, most people will get great
results from it if the massage therapist has a good understanding
of muscle imbalances and how to work on them.
NOTE: Not all massage therapists are the same! Just like any
profession, there are varying degrees of training and qualifications.
When selecting a massage therapist please check to see if they are
licensed and insured in the state where you will be seeing them.
You should also ask the massage therapist if they have training
in one of the following areas: Orthopedic massage, Medical massage,
St. Johns technique and/or has a comprehensive knowledge of muscle
imbalances relating to back pain.
With that said the benefits are as follows. The root cause will
be identified, your discomfort will be addressed and you root cause
will be corrected all in an attempt to make you pain free and give
you the tools you need to keep you that way. What to expect when
you see a massage therapist.
All massage sessions are one on one allowing you the opportunity
to converse with the therapist as well as get the attention you
need to get results. You can ask questions about how you compare
to other people.
Feel free to ask the therapist what approach they will be taking
so that you know what to expect. The massage therapist has many
different techniques they can use when to dealing with you back
pain and some are better than others.
On the down side sometimes a therapist can get distracted with
other problem areas, it is in your best interest to keep them focused
on you back and associated problem areas. Like anything else you
may need to try several different therapists before finding the
one that works best for you and with you.
Another overlooked form of treatment that is very effective is
post-rehabilitation fitness training. This includes targeted strength
and flexibility work to correct / improve the individuals muscle
imbalances. This is specialized knowledge that very few fitness
trainers possess and there are certification programs designed specifically
There are of course, limitations as to what they can do for you.
For example, they can not diagnose a condition, prescribe any medications
take x-rays, etcï¿½ however, if they are well trained they can pinpoint
your muscle imbalances quickly and get you started on a fitness
program that will restore balance to your body and likely eliminate
your back pain.
Often times this can be combined with massage therapy and/or
manual physical therapy for a total solution. If you decide to go
this route, which I recommend you do, be sure to thoroughly check
out the fitness trainer and ask to see their certification, insurance,
Manual Physical Therapy is NOT the same as regular physical therapyï¿½
there are some major differences. Here are just a few:
- Manual therapy consists of hands
on muscle work primarily whereas traditional physical therapy
consists of heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, etc
- Manual therapist will typically
perform a much more thorough physical evaluation
- Manual therapists will usually be
able to spend more time with each patient
- Manual therapy is more holistic
in itï¿½s approach and focuses the body as a whole unitï¿½ something
lacking from nearly all traditional treatments for back pain.
So before you say, ï¿½Iï¿½ve already tried physical therapyï¿½ï¿½ did
you try manual physical therapy? They are two very different treatment
approaches and I highly recommend you consider manual physical therapy.
As you can see traditional treatments are the main stay of modern
medicineï¿½ not necessarily for the patients benefit, but itï¿½s just
how the system works.
The system will not change until the system is confronted with
a very powerful competitive force. That force may well be complementary
or alternative care from the likes of Personal Trainers, Acupuncturists,
Massage Therapists, Manual Physical Therapists, and the like.
So thatï¿½s what weï¿½ve tried to doï¿½ force change. The traditional
treatments that people have been receiving for decades just donï¿½t
work, and we have found a combination approach that not only works
the best, but itï¿½s safe, natural, and inexpensive.
Check out our ï¿½Lose the Back Painï¿½ system nowï¿½ it will show you
how to identify the cause of your back pain and then show you the
exact combination of steps to take to eliminate it.
If you have tried other treatments with little or no relief,
you owe it to yourself to try this approachï¿½ so take charge of your
health and get started now working towards not only a pain free
back, but a healthy and balanced body! Only you can fix your backï¿½
all you need is the right approach.
For more information on our complete healing formula and
how to treat back pain effectively, read the latest Back Pain
Advisory from The Healthy Back Institute. You can get a free
copy of it here: