Got Back Pain?
Chronic back pain is at epidemic proportions that costs $100 billion annually in the US alone. That’s billion with a capital B folks! One of my favorite general public articles on the topic was in News Week and was titled “The Great Back Debate.”
In many respects, it was a most ground breaking article. Why? Because it was major “mainstream” publication that attempted to examine truly non-traditional causes of back pain. It made a serous attempt to look at non-physical causes of back pain and non-invasive treatments. Causes that would have been relegated to “non-scientific” status just a few years before that, were being taken seriously by a normally conservative publication. I consider it a must read article for anyone with chronic back pain.
In particular, the article explored the psychological basis for back pain, and did so commendably. Since that article, several reviews on the topic have come out, and continued to support the general conclusions from the News Week article. Some key comments in the article for example:
“The answer, Carragee and others believe, has as much to do with the mind as it does with the body. In the HIZ study, the best predictor of pain was not how bad the defect looked but the patient’s psychological distress. Depression and anxiety have long been linked to pain; a recent Canadian study found that people who suffer from severe depression are four times more likely to develop intense or disabling neck or low-back pain. At the Integrative Care Center of New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery, physiatrist Gregory Lutz says he routinely sees men who have two things in common: rip-roaring sciatica and an upcoming wedding date. The problem in their back, possibly a degenerated or herniated disc, probably already existed, says Lutz, but was intensified by the ole premarriage jitters.”