This is a concept that I am still coming to terms with myself. I truly believe it starts the minute we are brought into this world. As humans we always want to be able to blame something for our pain, bad luck, unfortunate circumstances etc. IN some aspects I agree, a lot of what we go through could potentially be avoided but does that same theory include back pain? Can someone with a bulging or ruptured disc, crooked spine or bone spur NOT suffer from back pain? This is a big misconception and I want to bring you against the grain on this topic in this article. I want to challenge your way of thinking and bring some perspective into your suffering.
My diagnosis proves whats causing my back pain.
Is it really? At the end of the day all we are doing is taking our doctors word for it and trusting the hundreds and thousands of dollars that went into being able to give you an accurate diagnosis. Truth be told, even after using some of the most high tech x-ray, MRI and CT scan equipment, doctors still fall short at giving a true diagnosis. Believe it or not doctors are only about 15% accurate even after surgery at giving you a proper diagnosis. The thing of it is, they just don’t know.
“In the 1960s I warned patients that x-rays were neither a good nor a positive means of diagnosing a low back problem. From the 1970s until today, I have continually warned folks that myelograms are notoriously inaccurate and extremely dangerous. And even today, I continue to state flatly that all the high-tech tests in the world—including the much-touted MRIs—are usually inaccurate, useless, a waste of money and much of the time they are counterproductive to diagnosing the correct source of low back pain.”
“Yeah right, I just paid over $600 for my MRI, that thing has to be like super smart.” Super smart…no. Strong ability to find a large percentage of any spinal abnormality…yes. Thats exactly what they are designed for. What they AREN’T designed for is to do one simple yet important job…detect pain. Think about it. You go into the doctors and say your back hurts. They sit you on a table with nothing more then what feels like your great grandmothers old sleeping gown. After about an hour of laying in what feels like a coffin, they look over the results and find you have a slight curve in your spine. From there they proceed to tell you that this “deformity” is whats causing your pain and in order to fix it we need to send rods up through your butt to straighten you out or you will just need to live with it…well maybe not the rods up the butt thing but you get what i’m saying.
They just can’t do it. They can find the abnormalities but are 100% unable to tell whether or not thats whats actually causing your pain.
“Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies are expensive ($600 to $1,200 each), their yield of clinically useful information is poor, and they should not be used as screening tools in these instances. Furthermore, the vast majority of magnetic resonance scans are read as abnormal, with findings of bulging disc, desiccation at L5-SI, or facet arthrosis; unfortunately, the patient frequently is not told that abnormalities seen on spinal MRI may be unrelated to pain.”
Thats the thing, the doctors aren’t 100% either. All they can do is look at the results and take educated stabs at what they THINK will fix the problem or whats even causing it. The lack of education on our parts buys into whatever the doctor is saying and next thing you know you are getting put under for a 4 vertebrae fusion. Don’t take this the wrong way though, I’m not saying that all doctors are just out to make money and give people false diagnosis. I believe they care for you and want the best for you but we put too much faith in what they say. Our lack of education and their “white coat authority” can be a disaster.
What to do from here.
You may never really know whats wrong with your back but does that really matter? You still need to do the right things to build that strong foundation to prevent more future pain regardless of what you have.
You have to throw out this goal of achieving the perfect spine. I fall victim to this all the time. Well if my disc was the way it was 8 years ago I wouldn’t have this problem. Well maybe, but there could be something else that isn’t right. All it takes is one accident and a bad medical opinion and I’m in the same boat. Stop chasing perfection. Everyone has some kind of issue. Whether it be a bulging disc, crooked spine or some kind old bone spur. You can look at any spine and find fault. The key is to build your core foundation in a way to where your ligaments and tendons and surrounding supportive muscles can handle your day to day. Don’t fall victim to your diagnosis. It’s not a badge or excuse as to why you have pain. The reason you have pain is from years and years of bad habits and being unwilling to make changes to your lifestyle. These things result in back pain.
Keep it fresh…and remember your spine is beautiful just the way it is….seriously.
There he goes making all these claims….naahhhhh
1) West, B. Backache and High-Tech Tests. Health Alert. Vol. 11, No 10 [Oct 1994]
2) Nelson, B. A rational approach to the treatment of low back pain. Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine 1993;10(5): 67-82