Pain is the number one reason for medical visits in the United States, and back pain is the most common type of pain reported. An estimated 8 out of 10 people struggle with back pain at some point in their lives, and in most cases it goes away on its own. But for some, back pain becomes chronic, which simply means the pain persists for weeks, month or even years — often taking a serious toll on the person’s ability to enjoy life.
About 100 million Americans, and 1.5 billion people worldwide, suffer from chronic pain, and back pain is again among the most common pain experienced chronically.[i] The sheer numbers of people facing chronic back pain has led to an ever-expanding array of treatments …
Despite More Treatments, Chronic Back Pain is Not Improving …
Writing in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine,[ii] researchers noted a stunning increase in back pain tests and treatments in recent years, including a:
- 629% increase in Medicare expenditures for epidural steroid injections
- 423% increase in expenditures for opioids for back pain
- 307% increase in the number of lumbar magnetic resonance images among Medicare beneficiaries
- 220% increase in spinal fusion surgery rates
Yet, despite all of these conventional treatments, people are still suffering with chronic back pain! Researchers said:
“The limited studies available suggest that these increases [in back pain treatments] have not been accompanied by population-level improvements in patient outcomes or disability rates.”
In other words, conventional treatments are failing miserably, and even causing deaths and disabilities in the process. It’s a major clue that, as researchers noted, the proportion of office visits attributed to back pain has changed little since 1990 — even as there are more back pain treatments available than ever before. People are still visiting their physicians seeking answers, and then leaving disappointed — and, worse, still in pain. As stated in the study, many back pain treatments are unproven, ineffective and potentially dangerous:
“There are important implications of expanded testing and treatment for back pain. Innovation has often outpaced clinical science, leaving uncertainty about the efficacy and safety of many common treatments. Complications and even deaths related to pain management are increasing.Despite uncertainties, manufacturers aggressively promote new drugs and devices. However, trust in the science supporting these products is eroded by revelations of misleading advertising,allegations of kickbacks to physicians,and major investments by surgeons in the products they are investigating.”
Most Treatments Don’t Deal With the Cause of Your Pain
And therein lies the problem.
There’s a good chance that one day your back just started hurting out of the blue … but it wasn’t due to anything you could pinpoint — no car accident, fall, or athletic injury, for instance (these, of course, do cause back pain, but in a far more limited number of cases). Although your back pain may have come on suddenly, it probably didn’t happen overnight.
In most cases, there is a more insidious cause, caused by the normal wear-and-tear of everyday life, or specific characteristics of your lifestyle. For instance, all of the following can trigger or exacerbate chronic back pain:
- Lack of exercise
- Overweight or obesity
- Poor posture
- Sitting for too long (such as working a desk job)
- Standing on your feet for too long
- Repetitive lifting, pulling or pushing
- Smoking, which can make it difficult for nutrients to nourish the disks in your back
- Psychological and social factors
One or more of these factors, over time, can lead to muscle imbalances and actual damage to your spine. The end result is an array of conditions commonly associated with chronic back pain, such as arthritis of the spine, facet joint syndrome, or pinched nerves. Even if you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, it is not the cause of your pain — the issues noted above are.
How do You Know if Your Back Pain Really is Chronic?
That may sound like a silly question, but you could have chronic pain and not realize it, as chronic pain is extremely variable in its signs and symptoms.
For instance, chronic back pain can vary from mild to severe, and you may feel it continually or in persistent episodes (several hours a week, for example, for months on end). And while chronic pain may begin with an initial trigger event, such as an injury, it may manifest even in the absence of any trauma or accident. As for the pain itself, it may be throbbing, shooting or burning, and it may involve feelings of tightness, stiffness or tingling. The pain may not even be limited to your back — chronic back pain can oftentimes radiate down your legs or into your neck and arms.
Further, chronic pain is often associated with other health issues, including fatigue or insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression and even sometimes a weakened immune system.
What is the Answer to Chronic Back Pain?
Often a multi-faceted approach works best — but it needn’t include drugs and surgery. In fact, we insist that it doesn’t!
We encourage you to sign up for the free Lose the Back Pain newsletter, using the subscribe link in the upper-right corner of this page, to gain immediate access to the best natural tips available, such as the simple exercises below.
If you’re one of the many who are currently struggling with chronic back pain, you absolutely owe it to yourself to explore the Lose the Back Pain System, which takes you step-by-step through the process of identifying the exact muscle imbalances you have, and then gives you the targeted stretches and exercises you need to get fast relief. This is the best option if you’re looking for real, lasting pain resolution, as it will help to heal the underlying causes (the muscle imbalances) that triggered your pain in the first place.
Below are even more natural options that target the underlying causes of your pain directly by addressing muscle imbalances, inflammation, spinal decompression and other forms of spinal stress that are the true culprits in chronic back pain:
- Inversion Therapy / Spine Decompression Therapy, to help with decompression and stress on the joints of your spine
- Muscle Balance Therapy, which can help generate balance and stability in your pelvis and spine, and minimize excessive wear and tear of the disc and other joints of your spine
- Trigger Point Therapy, to help restore proper muscle function and address localized pain
- Healing Heat, which is deep penetrating and longer lasting for pain relief and to increase joint range of motion
- Rub on Relief, a pain cream that was formulated to address many of the foundational reasons why you are in pain. While giving you the simplicity and fast-acting relief you expect from a pain cream, this blend of ingredients works to address both pain and inflammation.
Try one or try them all … but do try something!
Written By: Updated: May 31,2012