Individuals in the U.S (from 20-64 years of age) who suffer from back pain, number over 26 million, as reported by the American Pain Foundation. This is the main reason why it’s been listed as one of the most common reasons for folks to pay their doctor a visit. However, when analyzed, a surprising fact comes to light. Even though this is an extremely common condition, it’s not easy to treat!
The reason for that has to do with the complexity of the human back, in particular the lower back. Here, we see a number of possible sources for back pain. While many believe that surgery would be the answer, most back pain sufferers would not benefit from a surgical procedure. Fortunately, there are a number of alternative medical therapies that are effective, when it comes to treating back pain. Here are some of them…
Acupuncture is an ancient form of medical treatment that originated in China over 2,000 years ago. It’s considered to be most effective for those with pain that is located in the back and neck, but not actually radiating through the legs and arms. One of the predominant theories says that this method of back pain treatment stems from a rebalancing of the body’s energy through the realignment of the body’s energy meridians. Another widely accepted theory states that the use of the acupuncture needles causes the release of endorphins that alleviate the pain. In any case, an accepted theory in the Western part of the world is basically non-existent. However, acupuncture is still popular in the West, because it works.
The back pain relieving effects of massage are due to the stretching of the muscles and the promotion of lymphatic and lactic acid draining. Medical studies have shown that back pain can emanate from a lactic acid (and other waste products) build-up in the muscles. When this occurs, the massage will speed up the movement of the lactic acid and other waste materials out of the muscles. This will promote a faster healing process, which relieves the pain. It’s important, however, to choose a massage therapist who you can trust and, thus, feel comfortable with. This will naturally accentuate the healing process.
While the common perception of a chiropractor is the person who “cracks someone’s back”, there is a lot more to this form of therapy. For example, there are a number of chiropractic therapies involving the soft tissues. Because of this, Chiropractic Medicine can also be effective when treating the pain that radiates from the back and down through the buttocks and eventually through the legs. Some chiropractors will also incorporate various physical therapy procedures, such as heat and ultrasound, which can interrupt muscle spasm cycles as well as address “trigger points”, which can be the source of chronic back pain and irritation. It should also be pointed out that the “cracking” sound that is heard during a spinal adjustment is, in actuality, the release of nitrogen bubbles that have accumulated in the patient’s joints. This, along with the spinal re-alignment alleviates the back pain.
There are several supplements that are also used in the treatment of back pain. These include:
- Vitamin D
- The Harpagophytum procumbens plant (“Devil’s claw extract”)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Traditional Chinese Herbal Medications
As you can see, there are a number of ways to treat back pain. For the best method, in your particular situation, consult your back pain treatment professional.