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The Solution to Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain is a big problem; it’s ranked as the highest contributor to disability in the world. Cost of treatment is rising, there are forever new and improved technologies but the relative benefits aren’t actually growing. So something is amiss.

There isn’t one solution to chronic back pain

A ‘one size fits all’ solution for such a variable problem that is always unique to the individual just isn’t possible. Anyone claiming to have a magic bullet, a procedure that applies to all back pain sufferers is, let’s say, misguided… what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for the next, even if they appear to have similar symptoms.

Have you seen numerous experts and specialists?

Advice is well meaning. But there is lots of it out there, as well as many different treatment approaches from conservative to surgical. These are often reductionist approaches that target and isolate specific parts of a person. They can be effective if they hit on the main cause, but results from a reductionist approach are limited if the problem is multi-factorial – and chronic back pain very often involves numerous factors, which is why it can be hard to treat.

There are many potential causes of back pain

…And, therefore, many potential solutions. This may all sound overwhelmingly frustrating – that’s understandable if you’ve had on-going pain that affects your day-to-day life and haven’t found anything that has made a significant difference. But this is good news if you feel like you’ve tried everything.

The Big Picture

A holistic approach that investigates the bigger picture, as well as the detail, and puts the individual’s pain in context, can be invaluable. This also creates a framework for sound principles and strategies that can be applied to any patient in order to investigate the many potential factors contributing to their pain. It informs the clinical reasoning process in order to create effective care and active coping strategies. So when we talk about addressing things in a multi-factorial way, it includes things like:

Joint mobility and stability, tissue tone, stress, movement conditioning, fear-avoidance behaviour, mind-set, previous injury, bio-mechanical compromise, movement habits, activity levels, education, body awareness, exercise history, nutrition, medication, congenital predispositions, genetics and inherited anomalies…


…the list goes on.

This type of approach casts the net wide, and therefore the chances of finding the key issues that maintain a person’s chronic problem is more likely than a reductionist approach. The wide-angle strategy provides information that is unique to the individual, and can differ greatly from one person to the next – and this means the way to help resolve the issue is also unique. Treatment informed by this process is, by default, tailored to the patient and responsive to their situation.

Keep it simple and help yourself wherever you can

The key to successfully dealing with chronic back pain can be simple: take responsibility for your body and your treatment. This is much easier when you have good support from a knowledgeable practitioner who you enjoy communicating and working with.

You are the expert on you, and only you can tell if you feel like yourself again. Be proactive and informed, knowledge is power, use what works, and leave what doesn’t. Whoever you go to for help, the advice and care you receive should put the power to regain body health back in your hands as much as possible.

If you have struggled to get results, have a think about the following questions:

  • Does working with your practitioner feel like collaboration?
  • Have you discussed expectations of treatment?
  • Are you and your practitioner looking at things in multi-factorial way?
  • Do you have an action plan with goals and ways to measure progress?
  • Does your practitioner’s advice resonate with you?
  • Does your treatment involve movement and activity?
  • Do you feel informed?
  • What more can you do to help yourself?

Don’t take my word for it

Go and find what works for you. If the treatment you’ve received to date doesn’t help, it may be because it’s too targeted on one contributing factor, and leaves out other things that are potentially more relevant to your issue.

There is always scope for improvement, don’t underestimate what you can achieve.

Eat well, Sleep well, Address stress, Move regularly

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Speak to an Osteopath

CTH Healthcare is all about helping you get better, quicker, so that you can overcome pain and be independent of ongoing treatment. If you’d like to find out more or to discuss how treatment may be able to help you, get in touch using the form below:

Tags: back pain

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