Pain News Network recently wrote about a study which found that many treatments for back pain are ineffective.
It says that in a series of reviews in The Lancet a team of researchers found that back pain is quite often treated with the wrong advice including, inappropriate tests, risky surgeries, and painkillers.
They put that “The majority of cases of low back pain respond to simple physical and psychological therapies that keep people active and enable them to stay at work,” says lead author Professor Rachelle Buchbinder of Monash University in Australia. “Often, however, it is more aggressive treatments of dubious benefit that are promoted and reimbursed.”
The best type of treatment they recommend is primary care in the first instance and keep mobile, active and continue to work.
Most people with a new episode of back pain can recover quite quickly but the same problem can reoccur again and then take longer to heal the next time. Counseling, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy are other treatments advised with spinal manipulation, massage, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga as second-line treatments.
The Lancet authors say patients should avoid harmful and useless treatments, and doctors need to address widespread misconceptions about their effectiveness. For example, there is limited evidence to support the use of opioids for low back pain, and epidural steroid injections and acetaminophen (paracetamol) are not recommended at all.
Pain News Network also wrote that the findings in The Lancet series are similar to those reported in other medical journals. A 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that regular exercise and education reduce the risk of developing lower back pain by as much as 45 percent.
Back in 1982 after my second episode of back pain which left me bent over, I was referred to an orthopedic consultant who put me on traction for a week in the hospital. To this day I have lasting problems from that traction. My first spinal surgery was in 1987 and I had a lumber discectomy for spinal bifida and a disc herniation and canal stenosis. Twelve months later I had to have further surgery but this time in my neck for a serious cord compression and a prolapsed disc which meant a two level fusion at C3/4.
By 1996 I needed further cervical surgery and in 1999 further lumber surgery. I have to agree with the primary care they suggest you have but unfortunately for some, all the treatment in the world will not sort the pain out unless you have surgery. I am sure like me anyone who has undertaken spinal surgery did not have it done unless it was very necessary. I was told I could not even pick up my young daughter as there was a risk of paralysis because the disc was in such a mess.
I do agree however that spinal surgery is not a quick fix and further problems were partly due to my initial surgeries but the only other option I was given was to have a plate inserted in my back from top to bottom.
With so many people, around 540 million people at any given time, suffering from back pain it is obvious that it is a very serious health problem to deal with.
Maybe some form of education about this should be introduced at school so children know from a very early age how to sit correctly (deportment was a factor when I was at school) and how to pick up and carry items, how to keep fit and watch their weight in order to avoid spinal problems in their adulthood.