Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back Pain?

At least 80 % of the American public will at some point suffer from back pain. Anywhere between $16 and $50 billion is wasted on medical expenses and lost work time annually due to back pain.

While it is true that thousands of people go to upper cervical doctors across the country everyday for back pain, many of whom find relatively quick, affordable relief, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT UPPER CERVICAL CARE IS AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR BACK PAIN.

The fact is, some of those people would have experienced relief whether they received upper cervical care or not. For some, general chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, hot/cold therapy or exercise might have been equally effective. Others would probably have felt better in time with no treatment at all. Unfortunately, what seems to work today may not work tomorrow. For many years the medical community suggested two weeks in bed for back pain. Today it is commonly understood that more than two days of bed rest can often make back pain worse. We realize now that as the muscles that support the spine are not used, they become weaker and less able to do their job. The variety in what constitutes effective treatment can partially be explained by the fact that the causes of back pain are as varied as the sufferers themselves.

Eighty percent of all low-back pain originates in the muscles, ligaments or disks. Some pain is caused by sheer overuse of muscles, whether it is by repeated use or by asking a muscle to do more than it is capable of in a single situation. Some back pain is caused by joint conditions--inflammation, arthritis or degeneration. Another leading cause of back pain is the herniated disk. However, interestingly enough, 20-30% of people with herniated disks and back pain actually have discomfort for a reason other than the disk condition. This is noteworthy inasmuch as many of these people go on to have surgery for the disk, which is not the cause of their pain. Still, other pain is caused by unrelated disease in the back area such as kidney or digestive problems or even cancer.

So with the variety of causes of back pain, you may be wondering how any one thing can be effective. For example, how aspirin works to relieve pain is yet unknown. If we don’t know that, how can we know that there is not a less toxic or even cheaper means by which we can do the same thing? Or for that matter, how can we know that this unknown mechanism is not harmful to the body in some significant way?

While upper cervical care is not a treatment for bad backs, it is good for the overall health of the body. Whenever you do anything that is good for your overall health, your whole body benefits. When you get a good night’s sleep, you are more energetic, more coordinated and more clear minded. Exercise, diet and rest obviously play a significant role in lessening back pain, not because they are effective treatments, but because they are good for the body. They promote health. Likewise, while back pain may improve under upper cervical care, it is not because upper cervical care is good for bad backs. Upper cervical care is good for your whole body. So have your spine checked periodically whether you have back pain or not.

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