Researchers claim that millions of people across the world who are suffering from lower back pain are receiving the wrong treatment, making the condition worse instead of curing it.
Back pain is the world's most common cause of disability, with over 540 million people suffering from it. Unfortunately, back pain treatment is being abused as a lucrative business, and the researchers are now calling for governments to find out an end to this.
Wrong Back Pain Treatment Makes Things Worse
An international team of researchers led by Monash University's Rachelle Buchbinder published a series of three papers focusing on low back pain on The Lancet journal.
The first paper tackled the complexity and contributors of back pain, as well as the problems in low-income and middle-income countries regarding its treatment. The second paper highlighted the lack of research into low back pain prevention and outlined treatment recommendations. Lastly, the third paper is a call for action to recognize the importance of back pain treatment.
In one of the papers, Martin Underwood, from the medical school of Warwick University, said that most people start suffering from low back pain during the middle age. In the majority of the cases, the cause is unknown, with only 1 percent linked to serious diseases such as cancer or infections. The pain may partly be caused by psychological, economic, and social factors. In addition, once a person suffers from back pain, there is a one in three chance that the condition will return within a year.
Inappropriate tests and treatment for back pain are common, worsening the condition for the people suffering from it. Many patients receive back pain treatment in emergency rooms and are advised to take time off work and rest. Patients are also often referred for various types of scans and even surgery, with prescription for painkillers that may contain addictive opioids.
The Correct Back Pain Treatment
If the usual back pain treatment methods are wrong, what is the correct way to address the situation?
According to the researchers, instead of bed rest or suggested high-cost remedies such as a tummy tuck or performance boosting underwear, the correct back pain treatment is to simply stay active and get more exercise, such as practicing yoga.
"The majority of cases of low back pain respond to simple physical and psychological therapies that keep people active and enable them to stay at work," said Buchbinder. Unfortunately, only around half of Americans with chronic back pain are advised to exercise, the research reported.