Is Back Pain Treatment Useless?

Experts warn Back Pain treatment is useless

The Times, 22 March 2018 had a front page article about the current medical treatments for back pain:

Back pain is the world’s leading cause of disability but a series in ‘The Lancet’ medical journal stated it is routinely badly treated. In Britain, one in seven GP appointments is for muscle and nerve problems, mostly back pain.  It reported that millions of people with back pain are receiving treatments of drugs, injections and surgery, which can make the problem a lot worse.

Doctors prefer to offer useless and often harmful treatments rather than tell patients that staying active, exercise and psychological therapy work for most cases of chronic back pain but most people wrongly believe the myth that rest is best for the condition.

Patients understandably look for solutions and a cure but the reality is we don’t understand what causes the vast majority of back pain. A positive attitude and job satisfaction are among the strongest indicators of whether back pain will turn into a serious disability or not. The evidence underpinning invasive treatments is very weak and they can harm. Studies show that a third of British patients with back pain are given opioid medication such as Tramadol and Morphine but the evidence is that they can make your pain worse and patients are becoming hooked and suffering dangerous side effects.

The value of early physical therapy

Several studies have investigated the effect of early intervention. Gelhorn et al (2012) found that those that received physical therapy in the first four weeks of their first recorded episode of back pain had a significantly reduced likelihood of subsequent lumbar surgery, injections and fewer visits to a doctor for their back pain over the following year compared to those that received physical therapy over three months from onset.

The fear associated with the pain can prevent a person feeling they can carry on with a normal daily routine and they get into a vicious circle of ‘not doing things’ to avoid pain.  As an osteopath, I try to help patients find ways to cope and manage their pain through gentle osteopathic treatment to get some initial ease, followed by supportive remedial exercises, advice about improving activity levels and lifestyle advice, with some help from over the counter medications if necessary, to build up their confidence and regain some control.

If you would like to have a free half hour consultation to discuss your problem before deciding on treatment, please contact me:

01625 533813 / 07547 631679


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