It has to be one of the most searched health topics on Google: “How do I reduce back pain?” So many people are afflicted by back pain everyday. Some are in the throes of an acute episode that just started. Some have been dealing with it in some form or another for years. I want to talk about some steps you can take to help take the edge off, whether your pain is acute (recent onset) or chronic (greater than 3 months).
Part 2: People are not cars.
In our previous post, we discussed why manual therapy might not be as specific or effective as you think. If you missed it, take a look here. Now let’s shine a light on the ways manual therapy can positively impact progress in a course of PT rehabilitation.
Part 1: Manual therapists are not car mechanics.
Manual therapy can’t fix your joints and tissues. At least not in the direct, mechanical ways you might expect. A lot of people who show up to physical therapy think the purpose of manual therapy is to fix something structural: Reposition a joint that’s out of place. Correct asymmetries by moving body parts into optimal alignment. Break up adhesions between layers of soft tissue. Like dropping the car off at the mechanic, there’s a notion that we can drop off our bodies at a manual therapist’s office to get all fixed up.
A very interesting article came out just recently: “Effective treatment options for musculoskeletal pain in primary care: A systematic overview of current evidence.”1 (Check it out if you like. It’s free.) It attempts to give an overview of the effectiveness of all the various current treatments for neck, back, shoulder, knee, and multi-site pain. The conclusions may be surprising to you
What do you know about pain?
It’s quite likely that your understanding of pain is based on the model first proposed by Rene Descartes over 300 years ago. In it a painful stimulus is detected by a special pain receptor and the stimulus is carried upon a nerve to the brain where you feel pain. Descartes described them as tubes that carried the “animal spirit.” We’ve come a long way, but we still have a lot to learn.