- Back pain

How to Relieve Back Pain

Perhaps the most important fact to know about disc surgery is that you probably don’t need it. In a recent survey of people suffering with various forms of back pain, for every survey participant who had disc surgery, three others were told they probably had disc problems requiring surgery but found successful alternatives.

This widespread use of ‘ruptured disc’ as a diagnosis isn’t surprising for two reasons. First, participants with severe, chronic back pain were typically referred by a doctor to an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon, either of whom was more likely than any other practitioner to suspect a ruptured disc or suggest surgery. Second, most survey participants who were told they needed surgery received a tentative diagnosis that was not borne out by diagnostic procedures.

This was the experience of Julia, a UK survey respondent: “I suffered acute back pain after about thirty years of on-and-off lower back pain and sciatica. I had an MRI scan which showed two discs blocking nerve paths. I had sciatica in both legs and was on

a morphine-based strong painkiller. My husband had to carry me to the toilet and I couldn’t walk for a week. I had to attend the appointment with the surgeon on crutches and was put on the list for a “discectomy”.

In the eight months that I waited my doctor referred me to the NHS physio and he gave me Pilates type exercises to do. It took a long time but I am now completely pain-free, having strengthened my “inner-core” muscles.’

There is a growing consensus among medical authorities that no more than 5 per cent of back sufferers require surgery. But the president of the American Holistic Medical Association is even more optimistic. He believes that fewer than 1 per cent of back sufferers have disc problems requiring surgery.

If surgery has been advised for you, survey participants’ experience can help you choose a surgeon and avoid post-operative complications. The absence of skilled physiotherapy is one major reason for a poor outcome from surgery; scarring is another reason, Survey participants who didn’t fare well after surgery tended to be abandoned – in spirit if not in fact – by doctors. You may also be interested to read about helpful alternatives to surgery that some of them tried.

Source by Michelle Spencer

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