Don’t let back pain spoil your holidays

MSR News Online/MSR News Online

The hustle and bustle of the holidays bring all sorts of activities to American households. While some complain about all the things they need to get done and the stress involved, there is joy in a lot of it, too — giving to others, family time, decorating, dining, and sharing special memories.

But for many people experiencing back pain, there is little, if any, joy. Lower back pain is the most common type of chronic pain in the U.S., and the holiday season, for many, magnifies how much they can’t do and how much they are missing out on.

“The emotional and psychological costs of back pain hit especially hard during the holidays when it limits their participation with family and friends and in numerous activities,” says Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for BackPain Relief: The Essential Guide to Non-Surgical Solutions. “They want to get rid of their pain, but what matters most to them is what the pain isstopping them from doing — many of the things they love in life.”

Butler lists the various mental and physical costs of chronic back pain and how sufferers can limit or prevent them.

Depression

“In many patients, according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s chronic pain that leads to a diagnosis of depression,” Butler says. “Sadly, too many patients are misdiagnosed with depression and put on very powerful and dangerous medications because of pain. Doctors are trying to say it’s depression causing the back pain, when in fact the opposite is true.”

Time 

Chronic, unaddressed backpain robs one of several aspects of life — lost work, lost quality family time, lost recreation time. And then, Butler stresses, there’s the danger of waiting too long to treat it.

“The longer you have a back problem, the more damage it will create and the more it will resist getting better,” Butler says. “There is a point of no return, when there’s nothing anyone can do to overcome the damage you’ve allowed by not dealing with it.”

Surgery 

“Surgery and prescriptionmdrugs are almost always the wrong choice,” Butler says. “Many patients who usemthese options don’t need them, and in fact regret them. They’ve had their lives ripped apart by back surgery and drugs, leading to divorce, lost jobs, andmbankruptcy.

A combination of therapiesboosted by the newest technology — chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy — is often the best approach to their care.”

Other organs, tissues 

A damaged back or spine can affect multiple other areas. “Problems with the back and spine or nerves can be linked to many disorders — headaches, TMJ, hip pain, knee pain, and many others,” Butler says. “Therefore, knowing where the pain is coming from and what best to do about it is paramount.”

“Education is the key,” Bradfordsays. “You are responsible for your choices, not your doctor. Question how the treatment plans he or she recommends will help you and how it will correctwhat’s causing the pain, not merely mask it.”

Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back PainRelief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions, is ownerand director of Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy. He is a graduate of the NewYork Chiropractic College.

— Information provided by News and Experts