Over 80% of the population will suffer from neck or back pain during their lifetime. The question is what to do about it? The traditional advice of family medicine doctors was to take aspirin or some other over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. General physicians were taught that the majority of back pain will self-resolve. In some instance the pain will subside but often this pain can and will return with varying degrees of intensity. This pattern may continue until the pain becomes so severe that it warrants a visit to the emergency room and then things can become more complicated.
Once the pain has reached a certain level then diagnostic imaging such as x-rays and MRIs become necessary to determine the underlying cause of the back pain. These images usually reveal things such as disc degeneration, herniated discs, spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal, facet arthrosis, and scoliosis among other findings. These pathological finding might lead to neurological deficits or nerve pain traveling down the arms or legs. Once the source of the pain is determined then what? Is surgery really the answer?
In most cases spinal fusion surgery is recommend where the vertebra are welded together. The problem with this treatment is that is has shown not to be a solution. Research has shown that over 50% of back surgery patients relapse or have pain within 6 months to a year after the surgery. The prevalence of this has become so common that it has become known as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). This is especially troubling for people who lead an active life style and were praying that a surgery would help them regain there once fruitful life back. This can become not only physically troubling but also mentally troubling as the cost of spinal surgery is quite costly not to mention the amount of down time required to recover. After all of the financial burden and physical loss of freedom; to be back in pain again puts many patients into a depression.
The alternative to this stressful situation is less frequented but often more beneficial. There are non-surgical solutions to back pain which are more cost effective and also don’t require the recovery time like surgical interventions do. More and more people have been using complementary and alternative medicine sources to help resolve their back pain. Research has shown physical medicine or manual medicine techniques to be very safe and effective in managing back pain. Chiropractic medicine is at the forefront of this battle against back pain. These back doctors us non-surgical treatment techniques to improve back pain such as spinal manipulation, spinal decompression, physical therapy and acupuncture. Chiropractic treatment has been shown to be effective in the treatment of herniated discs, sciatica, headaches, TMJ pain, and general joint pain, numbness in arms and legs, as well as sprain strain injuries due to trauma. The likelihood of recovery is great and the complications are few. Essentially the only side effect to complimentary and alternative medicine approaches such as chiropractic, physiotherapy, and acupuncture is improved health and less pain. If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain, you should certainly consider visiting your local chiropractor.
Dr. Ayhem Sabry