Most people with back pain are getting unnecessary treatment.
If you’ve ever suffered from bad back pain, you know it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. It’s an aching, throbbing pain that usually comes on suddenly and won’t go away. The good news is that for most people, this type of pain goes away in a few days or weeks. In others, adverse back pain can last for months or even years and can be immensely uncomfortable and disruptive to your life. If you have been suffering from chronic bad back pain at home or work, maybe it’s time to get an expert opinion on what might be causing your discomfort.
Most people with back pain are getting unnecessary treatment. Many treatments for back pain have serious side effects, and some can even be fatal. Sometimes, these treatments can be worse than the original back pain.
Yesterday, I read an article in USA Today that was very disappointing, frustrating, and disheartening.
It stated that physicians are giving patients more drugs, ordering more expensive tests, and referring them to other doctors compared to giving them quick, effective, and safe back pain relief.
- Addictive Drug Use is on the Rise – Ibuprofen and aspirin use has decreased from 37% in 1999 to 24.5% in 2010, while narcotic drug use has increased from 19% in 1999 to 29% in 2010. (Yay, more expensive and damaging medication)
- Long Waits for Expensive Tests – The use of tests has increased from 7% to 11%. (More appointments, time away from work, more waiting, and more money spent)
- More Doctor Appointments – Referrals from physicians have gone from 7% in 1999 to 14% in 2010. (Just more opinions, diagnoses, and less action and fixing)
This is all very sad news.
They explain that these increases are because doctors are under pressure to have answers for the back pain, and it is easier to give the patient drugs, do a test, and get them to another appointment than to explain why these are ineffective.
Oh ya, the article was from July 29, 2013 (29 days ago).
What About Surgery?
In a study in 2011, a journal reported that of 274 patients told they needed surgery, 17% had no tests demonstrating that they needed it. (ouch!)
Plus, Consumer Reports had something to say about back surgery in 2005:
“Since the 1980s, operations for low-back pain have increased from about 190,000 to more than 300,000 per year. Many of those operations are probably unnecessary.”
This is not good news.
What about Back Injections?
In the New York Times, on July 18, 2013, they reported that injections are on the rise, but they do not increase the likelihood of long-term back pain relief and do not decrease the likelihood of back surgery.
What to do About Back Pain?
The answer is reshaping your back from the inside, back from the outside, and then layering on injury-specific exercises.
The specifics on how to do this I will show you tomorrow.
Rick Kaselj, MS