Expert Q&A: Alternatives to Pain Treatment
This question goes to the core of my premise as to what is wrong with the accepted medical standards when it comes to diagnosing and treating pain. Since the cause of pain is typically established through the use of diagnostic tests, the typical cause is usually found to be a structural abnormality such as a herniated disc, arthritis, stenosis, degenerative joint disease, meniscal tears or rotator cuff tears.
The problem with this method of establishing a cause is that studies have proven that as many people with no pain can be found to have the same diagnostic findings as those with pain. Studies have shown that people with back pain can may not have a herniated discs, and conversely, people with absolutely no pain can have herniated discs. In fact, some studies have concluded that there is very little correlation between diagnostic test findings and pain. What needs to be accepted is that it is possible for someone to have arthritis or a herniated disc and experience pain though a different tissue in the same area. I have proven with a high degree of success that the tissue creating the most pain is muscle.
To most in the field of "pain management", the only way to resolve pain is by surgery. However, since the medical establishment is not fully confident that conditions such as arthritis and herniated discs are the cause of pain, many suggest trying various palliative treatments like medication, epidural nerve blocks or cortisone shots.
Recognize the absurdity of this process. They are assuming the cause of your pain can only be resolved by surgery, but instead, they would rather prescribe treatments that at best could only mask your symptoms for a period of time before they return and you are back where you started. This process is commonly repeated until you can't take the pain any longer and then ask you if you are ready to have surgery only because nothing else worked. In following this path, it is you who now is requesting a surgery that is noy guaranteed to resolve your pain.
The thing that enrages me about this system of treating pain is that the patient is not in a position to determine the right treatment protocol for them. They are not medically educated. Yet the medical establishment provides treatments that never seem resolve the cause of pain because they never determined the true cause of pain in the first place. The reality is that the patient is defenseless in determining the right path to pain resolution under the existing system. The saddest part of this situation is that the medical establishment seems almost perplexed by the failure of all treatments by to surgery when the obvious conclusion is that they are attempting to treat the wrong thing.
A look into the statistics will give you a glimpse into the headway, or lack there of, the current medical system has made in resolving the public's pain. Eighty-three million people are estimated to have chronic pain. This number is supposed to go to 150 million in the next 10 years. Between 20 and 30 billion dollars a year is spent on painkillers alone. Five to 10 years ago there was no such thing as a pain management clinic. I would suggest it is the fasting growing business in healthcare. The number of MRIs requested has grown exponentially in the past 5 to 10 years. It is estimated that back pain alone costs the economy 100 billion dollars.
These are not statistics indicating success. There is no question that in the area of pain, the medical establishment is failing miserably and you are the ones suffering.
Mitchell Yass is a licensed Physical Therapist, founder of PT2 Physical Therapy and Personal Training, and author of Overpower Pain: The Strength Training Program that Stops Pain without Drugs or Surgery. His pain resolution program is helping thousands of people avoid unnecessary drugs and surgery, freeing them from pain indefinitely.For more information, visit: http://www.mitchellyass.com/
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