Only in the field of back care, where the variety of treatments is as extensive as it is bewildering, could yoga, surgery, bed rest and acupuncture for back pain attract roughly equal numbers of individuals desperate for back pain relief.
And only in the field of back care, where documentation about treatment effectiveness is generally so scarce, could there be so many people promising to banish pain in so many different ways – injecting it (trigger point, cortisone and muscle-relaxant injections), numbing it (cryotherapy) and healing it with spiritual power (meditation).
Some of the most widely debated and unorthodox ways to control back pain are explored on this website. You’ll find last resort ways to combat chronic back pain, from sclerotherapy to nerve block injections. You’ll learn about techniques that are quite new to most back sufferers, including chymopapain injections for ruptured discs and gravity inversion for many different kinds of back pain. You’ll hear what back sufferers are saying about the results of their illegal experimentation with substances such as marijuana and DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide, an industrial solvent) to treat back pain.
Although you may have heard of most of the treatments we’ll be talking about, you probably don’t have enough information to decide whether any one of them will help or hurt you.
Take manipulation, for example. Is it the quackery some doctors claim, the cure-all some chiropractors proclaim, or some thing in between? Just what is its value?
How about heat? Should you use it? If so, when and for how long? Is wet heat really better than the old-fashioned heating pad? Is bed rest still an advocated treatment for back pain? Analgesics are routinely prescribed for severe back pain, but do they work? How about anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants? How does aspirin compare with analgesics that are only available on prescription?
Are back supports worth trying? What can massage do for you? Are simple back exercises the answer for most back sufferers?