Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back Pain NOT Associated With Spinal Degeneration & Why Healthcare Costs Are Out of Control

Back Pain NOT Associated With Spinal Degeneration & Why Healthcare Costs Are Out of Control

The March 2010 journal of Spine printed an article that suggests that back pain is NOT associated with low back pain. When I first read this I thought, “Wow! This is huge!”

The reason this is so huge is because it suggests that our current model of back pain isn’t correct.

Here is the typical flow of a person with back pain. Usually start with some kind of self-care, i.e. heat, ice, OTC pain relievers, stretching and taking it easy for a few days. If that doesn’t work then the person may try massage, chiropractic, physical therapy or their family doctor. Eventually, if a person is unable to get relief and the pain is bad enough, they will end up in a surgeon’s office.

In another article I read today entitled Why US Healthcare Costs Are Out of Control: Two Insiders' Perspectives one of the authors wrote “In one New York institution, salaried staff surgeons were ordered to increase their admissions and operations by 20% or face a cut in salary. Because most surgeons normally operate on all patients who have appropriate indications for such aggressive treatment, the only way these surgeons could possibly increase their operative load was to perform procedures that were not indicated.”

In 2004 back pain costs were over $100 billion annually. In Europe back pain cost $240 billion euros in 2009, which equals just under $330 billion in US dollars. Let’s just say back pain is expensive.

So this entry has kind of taken a turn I didn’t expect when I began. Do you see the big idea though?

Our back pain model is incorrect; surgeons are being required to perform costly and sometimes unnecessary procedures that cost billions of dollars every year.

So this is where I step in. If you’ve read, listened to or watched any of my media you’ll know that I present a totally unique perspective on back pain – Brain Based back pain. The concept is this: one of the most important things our brains do is to inhibit pain. The brain is requires food, oxygen and appropriate stimuli to be effective. When it lacks any of these three things it loses its ability to inhibit pain.

So when a major medical journal comes out and says back pain is not caused by the things we thought it was, I’m not surprised. If you, as the healthcare consumer, will consider that chronic back pain may have a brain connection, you’ll get appropriate therapy, get better faster and save money.

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Do you experience fibromyalgia, headaches & migraines,numbness, sciatica, neck & back pain, dizziness, insomnia, restless leg syndrome or been in a car accident?


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