After treating thousands of patients with back pain and sciatica, I have found that many doctors are not giving their patients the most up to date information about their back pain. So I have compiled my list of the top 10 recommendations that most doctors are not telling their patients based on my 20 years of practice as a physical therapist.
Your back pain probably has nothing or little to do with your MRI.
This is a big one. I have had countless patients who have been to see me for treatment based on the MRI results only to find out that the abnormal MRI was not the root cause of their pain. The studies show that out of 100 people, you will find an abnormal MRI result in 90 of them and most of them do not have back pain. I have treated many patients for bulging discs that was noted in the MRI for which they had injections and surgery for, but continued to have the same back pain only to find out that the root cause of their pain was from another issue such as sacroiliac dysfunction.
If you have chronic back pain try making changes to your diet. The current western diet is heavy on the carbs, sugars, and processed foods. This kind of diet lowers the ph level in the blood, making the body more acidic. Chronic inflammation in the muscles and joints of the spine thrives in an acidic environment, making it difficult for the body to heal itself. Making subtle changes to your diet such as reducing your sugar intake and carbs will help to raise the ph and make the body more alkaline which gives the body a chance to properly heal itself. There are many anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet to help. You can also try nutritional supplements especially those with boron which has been shown to be a necessary nutrient for joints, cartilage and overall health.
If I specialize in prescribing narcotics, giving injections, or doing surgery that’s probably what I’m going to recommend. You should always complete your due diligence before seeing a back specialist and find out what their practice specializes in. You want to find a physician that considers all options for your back pain such as physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga before moving onto the more invasive treatments.
Think twice before having surgery. Back surgery should always be a last option after all other avenues have been exhausted. Once you cut into the body, you can’t go back. I have seen many patients who were not better and in some cases worse after surgery.
Pain medications are known for causing constipation. This is a side effect of the pain medications. The pain medication does not fix your problem, it only masks the issue by decreasing the pain which is helpful in the short term. However, in the long term you should find out what the root cause of the problem is and then work on that in order to get better. Dependence on pain medication can be very dangerous to your overall health.
Your pain will improve with the right kind of exercise. Movements done in the right way will increase blood flow to the injured areas which will help with the body’s ability to heal. The right kind of movements can also cause nervous system spiking which fatigues the hyper nervous system. This is important to reduce calm the body in order to allow healing. The proper movements also will result in permanent structural change in the tissue which helps it to strength, become more flexible, and alleviate the pain.
These medications are ok in the short term for a few days, but should never be taken long term. They can cause liver damage, stomach ulcers, increase bleeding, raise blood pressure, contribute to the risk of heart attack and stroke, and cause kidney problems. Just because you can get them without a prescription does not make them safe for long term use.
You need to lose the excess body weight. The extra few pounds that most of us carry has a significant negative impact on the spine. Just an extra 15-20 lbs can load the spine too much. Try wearing a backpack with an extra 15 lbs in it all day and see how your back feels. It will compress the discs, load the muscles and vertebral joints to the point where they start to break down over time. But if you are having back pain and can’t exercise, how do you lose the weight? This is another area most physicians fall short. There are several effective diet plans that work very well. One of those is the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method.
Get more sleep. The proper amount of sleep is critical to your body healing. Most of us do not get enough sleep. You should strive for at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. This is when you body will heal itself the most.
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