2 Your Health: The most common mistakes in the treatment of back pain

Dr. Craig Brue, D.C.

Are you experiencing back pain and want to know the best treatment for your problem? I have been treating patients with back pain for over 40 years. These are the most common mistakes that patients make in their choices for the treatment of back pain.

1. You don’t need to see your medical doctor for simple back pain. If you have overdone it with strenuous activities the pain is probably muscular. Back pain from strenuous activity usually occurs one to two days after the event. This type of back pain is self-limiting. Ice, heat, rest, massage and simply avoiding the activity that caused the problem will help.

2. The problem is seldom a muscle spasm. The typical medical remedy for back pain is a muscle relaxant and a pain pill. There is no blood test that will tell your doctor the correct diagnosis for back pain. Without a correct diagnosis you will never receive appropriate treatment.

3. You don’t need to take drugs. Recent medical studies prove that Tylenol and ibuprofen are no more effective for back pain than a placebo. A February 2017 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that medication should not be given for the initial treatment of back pain. Stronger narcotic drugs (Oxycodone and Percocet) carry substantial risks of abuse, addiction and death.

4. You don’t need to start an immediate physical therapy program to treat back pain. What would you do if you broke a leg or sprained an ankle? Would you start to run and jump on it to make it better? The common sense approach for an acute injury is to rest it, ice it and leave it alone.

5. You don’t need cortisone shots. Epidural steroid injections seldom work on a long-term basis and they are dangerous because of potential side-effects, including infection and death. You will walk out of the pain management office with the same bad back that brought you into the office. The only difference will be that you now have pain numbing drugs injected into your spine.

6. You don’t usually need expensive MRI studies. Advanced imaging studies will give a lot of information and these studies may help to diagnose the problem; however, the false-positive results of a MRI study might prompt your doctor to recommend unnecessary invasive treatments, including surgery.

My advice: Include a great chiropractor on your health team. Chiropractors specialize in the treatment of back pain and they will help you determine the cause of the problem. Back pain is usually related to spinal bio-mechanics. Do the simple things first. Have spinal adjustments, use ice, use a structural support, try simple stretches and start re-hab with easy exercises like walking or swimming. Chiropractic care is the most conservative, the most effective and the fastest way to help you eliminate back and neck pain.

Dr. Craig Brue is a chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, Arizona. Additional health articles may be found at bruechiropractic.com.