• Sam Fischer


Updated: Apr 11, 2019

About 80% of adults will experience neck or back pain during their lifetime and currently it is one of the largest causes of disability and missed work in the United States. A recent study by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that neck and low back pain cost the United states over $87 billion between 1996-2013.  Neck and back pain ranked 3rd just behind diabetes and heart disease. Despite these facts, back pain is treatable, preventable and often without miracle cures or expensive therapies.

Too often people experience back pain and follow this course.

- Get back pain

- Rest on the couch

- Go to the doctor

- Get an expensive image that will likely show something "bad" in your spine

- Stop moving even more due to fear of further damaging their spine

- Back pain gets worse

- Cycle repeats and toss in some pain pills for good measure

Lets consider the following studies. These are the results of two studies looking at abnormal MRI findings in healthy pain free subjects. read that correctly. None of the subjects had pain, yet their MRI and CT scans showed bulges, degeneration, and spondylolisthesis (fancy word for a shift or slippage of one vertebrae on another). What does all of this mean? It means that there is a very good chance image results DO NOT correlate to symptoms. It means that back pain is not always caused by bulging discs, or disc disease.

It means that you can live a perfectly healthy and pain free life even though your scans look like a mess.

Now I am going to let you in on a little secret. There exists a secret "cure" that the health industry doesn't want you to know about. It is so secretive that it exists right in front of you and you don't even see it. This "cure" is backed by mounds of peer reviewed evidence. It has been shown time and time again to decrease pain, improve function, and decrease time out of work. Now before I tell you about this "cure" I'd like to say that this does not apply to everyone and sometimes people with back pain have serious things going on. If you have any doubt about the severity of your condition please call your therapist or health care practitioner to discuss your specific individual needs.

OK....are your ready to have your mind blown with knowledge. Here we go. The "cure" is as follows...write this down.

Step 1: Regular exercise that you enjoy

Step 2: Repeat step 1

That's it! Out of all of the fixes and fancy methods it turns out that participating in general exercise that you enjoy on a regular basis is very effective at helping prevent and treat back pain. Physical therapy is there to help with this. Therapists are experts in human movement. We know tricks and tips to facilitate comfortable movement to get you independent in your exercise program. Whether it is core strengthening, stretching, functional exercise....they are all designed to get you moving as pain free as possible.

Don't let back pain get you down. There is help available, even if it seems like therapy in the past has failed. You owe it to yourself to try again. Maybe formal therapy is not appropriate, but get out there for a walk in the fresh air. Go for a bike ride if you can. Join a gym. Take a yoga class. Find something you enjoy and stick with it. You will be surprised at the outcomes of general exercise.

As always, please speak with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about starting a new exercise routine.

#backpain #physicaltherapy #exercise #fitness #evidence #science #MRI

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