Updated: Mar 3, 2019
Do you or someone you know suffer from chronic back pain? Most everyone knows someone who does, or has experienced it themselves.
The most common complaint is general back pain and stiffness and as many as eight out of 10 Americans struggle with it.
Many will resort to over-the-counter pain medications, some to stronger prescribed medications, and yet others will wait, hoping it just goes away. But this does not resolve the problem, and in some cases simply worsens it.
How would you feel if the solution was simple, fixable in the early stages, but you kept popping pain pills until you either destroyed your liver or waited so long that the only option left was surgery? Wouldn’t you really want to know the best way to tackle the pain?
What are your options?
For some time now we have been aware that back surgery may not be the answer to you chronic pain.
Often people are told they need a spinal fusion, which is good revenue for the hospital but often bad in outcomes for the patient. The spinal fusion idea arose from the assumption that disc degeneration was the source of back pain, so if you fuse it that pain goes away, right? Well, actually the success rate for pain reduction on a spinal fusion is about 20-25%.
So why keep doing them if there’s an 80% failure rate?
Well, other than profit there’s no reason, especially when the return to work rate one-year post surgery is only 15%.
Each year, some 600,000 spinal fusions are performed in the US with a high percentage of them being performed for non-specific low-back pain, at a cost of more than $600 billion. Did you catch that? Non-specific is the key word here. That means the surgeon could not determine where the pain was coming from so they fused the vertebrae to see if that did the job.
Sometimes you just have to shake your head.
Let’s look at that for a moment. We know that 50% of all x-rays and scans that show degeneration have no bearing on the pain, so at this point it makes little sense to do a surgery if the outcome has a 50% chance of having no bearing on the pain.
What does have bearing on pain is something you might not think does.
Interestingly, chronic stress and anxiety can cause pain. It actually has a name too. It’s a condition called neurophysiological disorder or NPD.
In chronic stress and anxiety your body basically becomes full of adrenaline. You are stuck in a fight or flight complex that cannot switch itself off.
As a result every organ system starts responding and acting up Your symptoms might begin with headaches, migraines, ringing in the ears, burning on your feet, itchy scalp, skin rashes, anxiety attacks, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, the list is endless but the eventual outcome is pain.
So, the question is how we get out of this endless anxiety loop... The answer is actually simpler than you think.
First you address your diet. You need to eliminate anxiety causing foods such as caffeine, fructose and sugar, and for the heavy drinkers, alcohol.
If you have a leaky gut, then you need to take steps to fix that problem. At Revibe we can help walk you through the basic steps and if your case is more complex, we can refer you to the best professionals who can help you.
Next you need to address your sleep.
Sleep is essential to your recovery.
Most people do not look at sleep as an important element to their health. And yet it is so important that chronic sleep loss will influence your weight, depression, irritability, focus and, yes, even pain.
Studies find that people who have chronic pain also tend to lose more sleep. Not just because they have pain, but even before their pain had set in, they reported poor sleep habits.
What the researchers are finding is that chronic sleep loss heightens your sensitivity to painful stimuli. In theory, a lack of sleep may contribute to chronic inflammation insofar as it prevents full daily recovery.
In other words, not only can you not catch up on lost sleep, but that lack of sleep will fail to flush the toxins from your system, leaving your inflammation intact, and contributing to your daily pain.
Research appears to back up the sleep loss theory, especially when pain killers are involved. It appears that loss of sleep blunts the full effect of any pain killers taken during the day.
Just how much sleep loss makes a difference? One study at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit recruited 18 subjects and split them into two groups, granting one group 8 hours of sleep and the other four. After four days the longer sleep group averaged 25% less pain.
This suggests that lost sleep affecting only one night can significantly reduce a person’s pain threshold.
Finally, you need to begin strength training. Especially important is using whole body vibration training to enhance the strengthening process and to essentially burn off the excess adrenalin that may be causing pain.
Let’s begin by saying that this technology is not new, it’s been around since 1960, but people who write about it seem to think it’s the latest and greatest of all exercise machines.
To be clear, scientific research on the effects of vibration therapy has been conducted all over the world. The results suggest that people with debilitating conditions may achieve the many benefits of exercise while working within their personal limitations and minimizing stress on their joints and ligaments.
Research also suggests that people with pain can benefit by significant reductions in that pain by using whole body vibration.
The question is, are there damaging effects of vibration on the human system as claimed by many. The answer is not simple, but first I want to point out that there are damaging effects of most any element on the human body with prolonged exposure.
Sound is one such entity that at the correct decibel, is very damaging. And yet we experience sound every day all day without damage.
Water can be very damaging over time, especially when you consider that water dripping on concrete over time can make a hole in it, even if a few drops on the hand have no effect.
As such, the damaging effects of long duration whole body vibration have been extensively researched. There is a strong association between jobs that expose an individual to long duration, low-frequency whole body vibration, such as tractor, truck and bus drivers, especially with increased lumbar spinal degeneration and low back pain, and muscle fatigue.
However, research has suggested that low frequency, short duration mechanical stimulation of the human body is a very safe and very effective way to exercise, strengthen musculoskeletal structures, improve sensory-motor neural pathways, improve proprioception/posture and decrease chronic low back pain.
Additionally, because of its ability to relax musculoligamentous structures and enhance flexibility, low amplitude, low frequency whole body vibration may be especially effective at lowering chronic pain.
There are two reasons generally cited where whole body vibration exercise may be useful for alleviating pain, especially low back pain.