YOU ARE HERE because you suffer from back pain (it becomes chronic back pain if it lasts 3 months or longer). Here we present a variety of available options for relief. Over the next several months, we will post updates, tips and suggestions and invite you to share your own. Here is a brief overview from some of the heavy hitters who treat, survey, and keep statistics on back pain sufferers.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, you are a member of a pretty big club (I am also a card-carrying member). According to the Mayo Clinic: “Most people in the United States will experience low back pain at least once during their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.”
Government surveys confirm “While no one dies from mechanical back pain, it is one of the most common reasons for work disability. The bill for lost productivity and back-related health care totals about $100 billion a year. In one sense, we’re all paying for back pain… in our health insurance premiums and our Social Security disability costs.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 90% of the population experience spine symptoms at least once in their lifetime.
One study shows the breakdown of the most common pain areas in order of complaints. Lower back pain takes a strong lead with 63%, followed by neck pain, then shoulder and wrist.
Treatment Options and Success Rates
We have considered three categories of treatments for back pain: Medications, Non-Invasive, and Invasive. As you can probably attest, people who suffer from chronic pain are often willing to try anything for relief. You may have tried one or more of the remedies presented here. Some may offer immediate relief; others may fail altogether. Overviews of the various treatments are presented separately on the menu above with links to sources providing more in depth information. We will try to update the information periodically
1) In my personal experience, non-invasive treatments which effect permanent changes in posture, work habits and/or lifestyle are more successful (and cheaper) than medications and invasive treatments. The best solution is to find a program offered locally with providers who will hold you accountable and encourage you to stick to the regimen. You can try the local YMCA, Fitness Clubs, and City/County Recreation Departments for programs specifically designed for back pain sufferers.
If you don’t find something locally, there are a few really good programs available online. If there is a fee, it should be reasonable and it is critical that there are lots and lots of personal testimonials supporting the success of the investment. Contact us for suggestions.
2) Medications mask the underlying problem, may be addictive, and are expensive.
3) Invasive treatments should only be considered after careful consideration of the long-term effects of injections and/or surgery.
4) Costs of treatments (repeat visits, surgery) may be prohibitive in ultimately getting permanent relief. There may be better, permanent, and less costly options available for back pain relief through targeted exercise programs or yoga.
Yes, I am definitely a cheerleader for solutions that DO NOT involve medications and invasive treatments. Even if you are already taking medications to control the pain or have had to undergo “the knife,” I believe you would be amazed at the relief possible through specific exercised aimed at your pain.