Is Your Back Pain Being Over Treated?

Posted by Bethaney Wallace on 18th Mar 2014

For years, folks have been suffering from chronic back pains. They’ve undergone regular doctor visits, surgeries, pain killer regimens, and almost any other type of treatment available. While relief has been available for some, others have only had their symptoms increase. The harder they work to fight their back pains, the more strenuously they’ve returned.

And while it might sound like that’s defying all logic, recent research actually shows a method behind the increase in back pain: it’s being over treated. Several doctors agree that more often than not, the best treatment for back pain is an at-home regimen. With a few over-the-counter pills, rest, and ice, the twinges can actually go away on their own. Add in stretches and pointed exercises, and patients are even more likely to eliminate their aches in a timely manner. However, when surgeries or more invasive treatments take place, the body isn’t allowed to heal on its own. For many, doctors say this is a growing cause to their chronic back pains. In a better situation, they (and their physician) should have left well enough alone.

But that’s not the worst of it, according to a recent study, the over diagnosis factor is getting worse.

Back Pain and Proper Diagnoses

When a patient sees a doctor for a first-time back pain visit, there are certain guidelines in place. These guidelines are meant to use natural and/or exercise-related treatments as a first resort, and exclude narcotics until they’re absolutely necessary. (At least heavy ones.) In the study’s results, however, it showed that more and more doctors are actually ignoring these bylines and prescribing medications and surgeries instead.

While this certainly isn’t the norm for every doctor (or every patient), it means that in all likeliness, more patients are being diagnosed with severe back pain cases than actually have serious injuries. According to the research, even mild injuries are being treated with pain meds, many of which are addictive or cause outside side effects. While the back pain may be helped, these pains often do nothing to treat the root of the problem. Which means surgeries or other drastic measures must be taken to help identify the pain’s initial source. Then, as more advanced treatments take place, the pains increase in both severity and frequency, causing long-term problems.

What This Means for the General Public

Before setting an appointment with a doctor, it’s a good idea to research back injuries and chronic pains. It’s never good to be a know-it-all who won’t listen to the pros, but having a good range of knowledge going in will help you better understand what you’re up against. Then you can also better talk with your doctor about treatment options.

Next, consider going natural. If you doctor prescribes a pain killer or wants to schedule surgery, ask if you can hold off for a few months. Get their advice on exercises or stretches to help loosen muscles, as well as how often to ice, stretch, or work out the affected area. Pair this with a recommended dose of low-impact pain killers (Tylenol or Ibuprofen) and back-friendly activities to get the best results. Then, see how you’ve fared and whether or not your pain is working to heal itself on its own.

Though it may take a few weeks, odds show that back pain works to heal (or at least improve) itself on its own. [Buffalo News]

Whether or not you’re skeptical about over treatment toward back pain, consider all your options before jumping into something permanent. No matter if you’re getting a second opinion or just giving the body a few weeks to heal on its own, it could greatly change the way you recover in the short and long term.