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Combined Therapies May Relieve Back Pain Best

January 2, 2013 by  

Combined Therapies May Relieve Back Pain Best

Conventional medicine and alternative medicine most often seem to be at odds with each other. However, many people — whether due to growing skepticism, skyrocketing medical costs or desperation –are opting for alternative treatments.

A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine suggests what many of us have suspected for a while: Traditional medicine does not have all the answers — especially when it comes to dealing with back pain.

Persistent low back pain is a common ailment affecting nearly eight out of 10 Americans. It is incapacitating to the sufferer, as well as costly and difficult to treat.

David M. Eisenberg, M.D., and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston), Group Health Research Institute (Seattle), and Brown University (Providence, R.I.) compared conventional therapy alone — defined as “usual care” — to the combination of an integrated program of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies plus usual care. They report significant differences between the two randomized patient groups in outcomes that included pain, functional status and difficulty performing routine, self-identified challenging activities.

CAM therapies were provided by a trained team of healthcare practitioners and included acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, mind-body techniques and nutritional counseling. Usual care consisted of treatments provided by subjects’ primary care physicians and typically included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical therapy and bed rest as needed, education and changes in activity levels.

The study concluded that many patients may find significant relief from an individualized, multidisciplinary, team-based model of care that includes access to licensed complementary care practitioners in addition to conventional care providers.

Kellye Copas

Staff writer Kellye Copas has several years experience writing for the alternative health industry. Her background is in non-profit fundraising, copywriting and direct mail and web marketing.

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  • deerinwater

    I have been engaging in back pain management for over 20 years now, I used them all and had good to mixed results without the use of surgery or pain killers.

    I still must used them all, ~ it’s became a life style of learning to be good to yourself, don’t ignore the pain as it will only get worse until you can no longer function and cope, making you old before your time.

    Sciatica nerve pain is something to fight everyday and you will taken it with you to the grave.

    I’m open to anyone’s questions about various method and expected results I have experienced personally.

    • Kate8

      deer – Have you tried any of the frequency (not TENS) units now on the market?

      I have a friend who is looking at them, but knows no one who’s tried them. They range in price from $80 on up.

      • deerinwater

        Yes I have Katie, ~ there many kinds and models to choose from. Power options, and electronic rhythmic variations ~ some squeeze, some light and progressing to strong muscle tension . Two probes or four probes is as much as a person can work with without assistance. ~ I’ve been to clinics that have employed as many as 6 probes.

        The electronic impulse is to contract and relax the muscles until it becomes so exhausts it makes the muscle relax. Placement of the probes is very important to get the relief that you seek.

        Such devices have a small place in fighting chronic back pain.

  • dan

    Thanks ,this is the first practical / alternative advice I’ve heard … I thought my sciatica and back were bad until I fell and dislocated/busted my shoulder…..other than that , my best relief is leaning up against the woodstove

  • coryjosue

    I think that a holistic approach is best in back pain prevention; instead of a unitary and traditional method that we are used to. Additionally though, I think that it is still best to consult a musculoskeletal doctor before you decide whatever treatment you want for yourself.


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