Alternatives to Pain Medication

Not that long ago, I wrote “show me someone with a six-pack, and I’ll show you a dysfunctional back.” The news is full of stories of the over use of Opioids or pain medicine. And you have to look no further than Tiger Woods. Take a look at his midsection. The guy has (had) serious hour-glass abs. Well, while that looks amazing at the beach, it also disrupts the diaphragm’s ability to create a piston base allowing the oblique swing to create torque. Instead he relied on his spinal rotation to power those amazing drives. Well, that wore out his back. Herniated some discs; opted for surgery instead of conservative fix; got arrested for DUI of narcotics and barbiturates.

alternate pain medication

Locally, if you haven’t heard about the problems with heroin and narcotics, you must be living under a rock. We are swamped with opiates. For years pain meds have been handed out like candy as the band aid for all sorts of pain. Unfortunately it’s just that, a band aid a temporary fix. Pain meds do not fix the reason behind the pain. Think of it his way; pain is like the check engine light on your car. Covering up the pain is like placing a post it note over the light. The light is no longer bothering you but the issue with the car is still there. If you ignore it long enough the car will eventually break down. Same happens with your body.

Guidelines for treating back pain:

The American College of Physicians has issued new guidelines for treating back pain. After looking at over 150 cases the following was found

  • Pain medication should only be prescribed when ALL other options have been exhausted
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is NOT recommended for anything bigger than a minor ache
  • For acute/ subacute pain
    • Massage
    • Acupuncture
    • Spinal manipulation by a chiropractor
  • Chronic pain
    • Acupuncture
    • Rehabilitation therapy
    • Core stabilization exercises

Defining your pain:

  • Acute or subacute pain is shorter than 12 weeks.
  • Chronic pain is defined as greater than 12 weeks.

Why is it important to treat back pain?

  • It’s not just about the pain function is also important
  • Depression and anxiety often follow chronic back pain
  • Back pain is the most common reason pain meds are prescribed and often lead to addiction and transition to heroin

It won’t happen to me. 

At some point in time 80% of adults experience low back pain so chances are you or someone you know is already expiring pain.

Back pain is caused when the spine nerves or discs start to move in a different manner than they should. This may be caused by an accident, lifting something heavy, repetitive motions, poor posture, age, and or disc degeneration.

Except for Yoga and Tai Chi all the guidelines listed above are offered at Susquehanna Spine & Rehab.