The End of Back Pain

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Back pain can keep you from important everyday activities and even cause you to miss out on work. What can you do to find relief?
Air Date: 7/30/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Patrick Roth, MD
Dr. Patrick Roth is the Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey and is a founding member of North Jersey Brain & Spine Center. He is also chief of neurosurgery at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. He is board certified in Neurological Surgery by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and was named one of the best doctors in New York by New York Magazine in 2010. Dr. Roth is a member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the North American Spine Society, and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been published in numerous medical journals.
The End of Back Pain
If you've ever suffered from back pain, whether just once in a while or chronically, you know how debilitating it can be.

Back pain can keep you from important everyday activities and even cause you to miss out on work.

The former school of thought on back pain was that the pain was representative of something broken or wrong and that you should stay away from the things that aggravate it (like exercise).

Now, the medical community is recognizing that pain is simply a part of life and that exercise is actually really good for relieving pain and getting you back to your normal activities.

The causes of back pain are very hard to pin down, even through advanced medical technology like MRI. This can be an indication that the pain may have many causes; even those of an emotional and mental nature.

If you have a bad back AND you feel stress, anger or fear, that emotional pain can manifest itself as physical pain. Just as some people get ulcers due to emotional stress, you can feel pain from the same.

What can you do to alleviate your pain?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that a vast majority of pain does not represent an underlying injury or something broken that needs to be "fixed."

Getting active again is absolutely crucial, even if you start out slow. The best area to focus on is your core. Most people's concept of the "core" is the abdominal muscles. But it actually includes muscles in the front, side and back of your middle. By strengthening your core and other muscles, you can diminish the frequency, intensity and duration of subsequent exacerbations.

What are the best exercises to strengthen your core?

There are some really effective isometric exercises, which don't require you to use your back and don't aggravate your back pain. Education is essential in finding relief. The more you learn about it and how to and address it, the better off you will be.

What role does inflammation play?

The inflammation associated with back pain doesn't necessarily happen right after the triggering event. It can take a while to build up, which is why you may not be able to pinpoint the actual event that caused your back pain. This can be frustrating, because you might feel that if you knew what triggered it, you'd be able to "fix" it. But remember, it's not about fixing the pain.

What about methods such as acupuncture, massage and chiropractic?

While all can be effective, the relief you get is typically temporary.

In this segment, Dr. Patrick Roth joins Andrea and Lisa to share the new approaches to back pain, as well as effective ways you can start to find relief.