I was on my way to work this morning and absolutely captivated by a fascinating piece on NPR that discussed how many kinds of back pain (though not all) are really caused by inflamed nerves sending pain signals to the brain and that the brain can learn to overcome some of these signals through exercises.
Also, the story discussed how surgeries have increased with the rise in diagnostic tests because of how much information tests like MRI’s show. According to the piece:
“Lots of people who are pain-free actually have terrible-looking MRIs.
And among those who have MRI abnormalities and pain, many specialists
question whether the abnormality is really the cause of the pain, and
whether fixing it can make the pain go away.”
So with this line of thinking, someone could have major surgery based solely on MRI data without trying less invasive procedures, exercises, PT, chiropractic, massage, first and not experience relief because the abnormality on the MRI is not the actual cause of their pain. I could go on and on, but if you or someone you love is experience back pain (which is likely as 1 in 4 Americans complain of back pain, according to the story) I recommend you give the piece a read or listen.
Here is another great article about how a Harvard study showed that doctors are increasingly ignoring guidelines for the treatment of back pain that call for conservative measures first.
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