Lancet study reveals the best way to fight back pain

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Lancet study reveals the best way to fight back pain
More than 20,000 cases were assessed to determine the best ways to fight back pain.

Pain management Physician Shawn Rooffian sees everyone from athletes to seniors, most fighting back pain.

"More than 90 percent of our patients come in with back pain every day," said Roofian.

He said that unfortunately, most try to self-diagnose first. "Everybody goes to Dr. Google first," joked Roofian.

And while the pain is very real, even after looking at the MRI, Roofian said the need for surgery is rare. "Less than one percent of patients really need surgery," Roofian said.

Recent research in The Lancet Journal looked at more than 20,000 back pain cases and found basic treatments such as acupuncture, massage, myofascia release and chiropractic were more effective than bed rest.

"This was a study that represented thousands of people's experiences with chronic lower back pain and the types of therapies that prove to be the most effective in reducing the pain syndromes," said sports chiropractor Dr. Paul Copeskey.

Experts say the first step is for a physician to rule out a physical cause, like impinged nerves or bulging discs, if pain has lasted six weeks or more.

Copesky uses adjustments and orthotics to help clients along with self-care mobility exercises. He also encourages normal activity.

The RICE Method, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, works nicely for muscle strains and sprains but isn't that effective for low pack pain.

And while you might have fired up the old heating pad, Copeskey says not dry, but wet heat works best. "Muscles are 70 percent water so when you put a dry heating pad onto a muscle, you're actually taking the water out," said Copeskey.

He uses a wet hot hydroculator pack, easily purchased at the drug store with a towel on the affected area.