On TV and in magazines, new health methods are born and disappear every day.
The contents range from the obviously dubious to those that have the stamp of approval of active doctors.
If you see a doctor recommending it, you may be tempted to try it.
However, no matter how expert the opinion may be, it should not be casually believed.
The only way to move in the right direction is to steadily check each data based on reliable research results from a scientific perspective.
Therefore, we will focus on health practices that are often recommended by professional doctors on TV and in magazines, and which are “actually baseless” or “dangerous” to the body.
So far, we have covered the following health topics
- Health tips you shouldn't believe in: sugar restriction
- Health Practices You Shouldn't Believe: Vegetarianism and Macrobiotics
In this article, I will introduce the results of a study on back pain treatment.
There's no greater bullshit in the world than back pain treatment.
There are many questionable treatments in the world, but the one that is most likely to be full of bullshit is the world of “back pain treatment.
On TV and in magazines, techniques such as “stretching the spine will reduce pain” or “doing exercises to bend over at the waist will be OK” are discussed, but in fact there is no basis for these measures.
This is because, at this point in time, even specialized doctors are almost unable to identify the cause of back pain.
A document called “Guidelines for the Treatment of Low Back Pain” illustrates this fact.
Clinical practice guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care
This is a study by a team of researchers from European countries that has extracted only the most reliable data on the question, “What is truly the right treatment for back pain? This is the result of a team of European researchers extracting only the most reliable data on the question, “What is truly the right treatment for back pain?
The most scientifically accurate measures to prevent back pain are summarized in this book.
The first thing to keep in mind about this guideline is the fact that “in approximately 80-85% of cases, specialists do not know the cause of back pain.
Some books and magazines claim that back pain is caused by a misalignment of the spine or a herniated disc, but in reality, only 5% of all cases of back pain are caused by physical factors.
In other words, many specialists are looking at x-rays and making guesswork out of them.
It's no wonder that bullshit treatments are spreading.
Furthermore, the problem with modern back pain treatment is that it is not only difficult to diagnose, but also dangerous.
Let me give you an example.
Cathryn Jakobson(2017)Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery
- “Spinal fusion surgery (a standard back pain treatment that involves cutting out part of the spine) has a success rate of only 35%. In addition, people who are overweight or who take painkillers regularly are less likely to experience pain relief from the surgery. In other words, the more a person really suffers from back pain, the less likely he or she will benefit from surgery.
- At a conference in Florida in 2009, 99 out of 100 surgeons answered that they do not recommend spinal fusion surgery. Nonetheless, the number of surgeries performed has jumped 600% from the 1990s to recent years.
- Although “decompression therapy” (standard back surgery) has shown better results than “spinal fusion,” it can leave damage to nerve tissue.
In other words, there are many cases where standard back pain surgeries do not have much effect and leave indelible damage to the body.
Unless you have clearly damaged bones or nerves, you should not easily resort to back pain surgery.
In addition, this “Guideline for the Treatment of Low Back Pain” also mets non-surgical treatment methods.
According to the results of analyzing numerous data, techniques such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and back pain exercises have virtually no effect.
There is no treatment that is beneficial enough to bother paying for.
Some of you may have had the experience of having your pain disappear after chiropractic care or massage, but this is only because your body was stimulated to secrete endorphins (natural pain-killing hormones) into your brain, and the pain temporarily went away.
The effects of endorphins do not last long, so the pain will return within a day.
Some massage parlors explain that the pain will disappear for a longer period of time after a few visits, but this is bullshit that abuses the human body's pain relief system.
Going for a massage for relaxation is fine, but if you go for pain treatment, you will be wasting your money.
So how can you really cure back pain?
So how can we cure back pain?
If most of the methods used in the world are useless, is there any way to alleviate back pain?
In response to this question, the Guidelines for the Treatment of Low Back Pain offers a surprising suggestion.
The contents are as follows.
- The cause of back pain is almost always psychological, so don't worry about it, just leave it alone.
What a surprise, most back pain is caused by psychological stress, so as long as you don't do anything unnecessary, you'll be fine.
The rest is just a matter of spending time as usual and it should recover naturally.
Of course, this explanation will not be immediately convincing to those who suffer from persistent back pain.
For people with back pain, “severe pain” is unmistakably real, and it is usually hard to believe that it is psychological.
But on the other hand, it is also true that reliable data shows that stress is the cause of back pain.
Especially in recent years, there have been many cases of back pain cured by counseling, and a large study conducted by Harvard University in 2015 recommended psychotherapy for the treatment of back pain.
Helen Richmond, et al. (2015)The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Treatment for Non-Specific Low Back Pain
If you have not had the desired results from physical therapy or massage, you may want to try psychological counseling.
In particular, I recommend “cognitive behavioral therapy,” which has a large number of validated data.
In recent years, however, there are easier ways to relieve back pain than expensive psychological counseling.
It is “exercise”.
According to a study conducted by the University of Sydney, Australia in 2016, goods such as back pain belts and back pain insoles have no effect and are all a waste of money.
Steffens D, et al. (2016)Prevention of Low Back Pain
On the other hand, regular exercise reduces the risk of developing back pain by 35% in one year.
This study was based on a careful review of data from about 30,000 people and has great credibility.
It doesn't matter if it's walking, strength training, or anything else, the shortcut to a solution is to just get moving.
Unless, of course, there is definite damage to the bones or muscles.
We also often hear advice such as “rest when you have back pain,” but again, this has not been proven to be effective at all.
Since sitting still is a waste of time, you may want to try some light walking and see how your body changes.