recognize that delivering so much good news about what has often been considered
to be an intractable medical problem may strain credibility. Common sense
suggests that chronic back pain must be caused by serious injuries or
abnormalities, requiring medical interventions and/or time to heal. Furthermore,
contradicting prevailing medical practice quite naturally raises suspicions of
quackery. By all means remain skeptical, but consider the rather astonishing
findings of some recent highly regarded scientific studies:
New England Journal of Medicine reports that most healthy people, who
have never experienced back pain at all, have the very same displaced disks and
other spinal abnormalities that have traditionally been blamed for chronic back
spinal abnormalities are surgically repaired, many back pain patients continue
to report their original symptoms. At the same time, the backs of other patients
with identical symptoms appear completely normal when viewed with CT scans and
Journal of the American Medical Association reports that back surgeries
conducted in the past, before we had CT scans and MRI’s, often found
nothing out of place. Surgeons simply sewed patients up again because there
was nothing to repair. These so-called “negative surgical explorations”
cured patients’ symptoms more than 40% of the time.
New England Journal of Medicine reports that “Back School” programs
that teach patients how to sit, lift, bend, and walk properly, do not help
to prevent chronic back pain.
New England Journal of Medicine also reports a study from Finland, where
workers with back pain recovered most quickly when they simply went on with
normal activities, and made no special efforts to heal their backs
whatsoever. In fact, bed rest and caution actually interfered with recovery.
major study at the Boeing aircraft company found that job stress was the
very best predictor of which employees would develop disabling back pain
over a four-year period. Emotional stress was more significant than whether
they did heavy lifting, sat for long hours, or were in poor physical
study by psychologists at Yale University, and in Germany, found that the
back muscles of back pain patients tense when they are exposed to emotional
stress, while the muscles of back pain free individuals do not.
comprehensive review of studies published in the respected medical journal
Spine, shows that poor, rural farmers whose backs undergo great physical
stress have the lowest incidence of chronic back pain in the world.
together, these studies and many others like them have led to the rapidly
developing scientific view of which we have spokenthat most chronic back pain
is caused by stress and muscle deconditioning, rather than by defective spinal
structures. This realization leads to a very different way of helping patients
to get better.
those interested in a more comprehensive look at the research that underlies the
Back Sense program, follow the link below:
REFERENCES FROM BACK SENSE