I have experienced back pain, my wife has experienced back pain, and you may also be one the eight in ten Americans that will suffer from some form of back pain in your life, so new information that help, or relief if you will, is very welcome news to say the least.
As we get older, the aches and pains associated with back pain, minor or major, become more an more frequent, and in some cases more severe as well. When you consider that back pain is the number two cause ( colds are number one) of time missed from work, it is no surprise that back pain sufferers, through no fault of their own, are major drains on the economy to the tune of more than $90 billion dollars a year in medical bills racked up.
Despite all the treatments and various reliefs available for all the various forms of back pain, a cure for the common backache remains as elusive as ever as it does for the common cold. A partial explanation deals with the complexity of the spine itself. When you consider that the lower back itself, the lumbar region bears most of the body’s weight on on just five vertebrae separated by the disks that essentially act as shock absorbers that provide impact cushioning and range or ease of motion at the same time, this alone tells you that it isn’t all that far fetched that as I said earlier 80% percent of Americans will face back pain at some point in their lives.
I would encourage you to read a much more detailed account of seven recent breakthroughs for back pain sufferers that I got the majority of my content from by Michael J. Weiss in July 2007’s Reader’s Digest as it will describe each in greater detail as it is my goal just to synopsized them so that you may do what I did and “cruise the web” for additional information on the ones that might interest you most. Keep in mind that doctors will always continue the search for some sort of “one size fits all” cure for all forms of back pain, but in the meantime, at least there are additional options available to all of us that have woke up or suffered through a day or night with some “tweak or twinge” because of back pain.
A new Neurostimulator is now an available option that is basically an implantable device that acts as a pacemaker for pain and is modeled after an actual pacemaker for the heart. This option is not new, and has been available in its earliest form since 1969 but has been constantly updated to be smaller and most importantly longer lasting. One of the latest models, the RestoreAdvanced neurostimulator can be of service for up to in nine years needing only a battery charge every 4-6 weeks and is the size of a pocket watch.
The Magical Spine Wand is a surgical technique called “percutaneous diskectomy” has been compared to the releasing of air from a bulging tire. This procedure was the easiest for my “non medical” background yet curious mind to follow as it is simply a probe being inserted in the area around a herniated disk that is pressing on nerves causing pain that draws out excess tissue to relieve pressure and pain at the same time.
Flexible Fusion has a new process called the Dynesys Dynamic Stabilization System that provides support and greater movement. This system uses flexible plastic tubing that during the surgery is put on both sides of the affected vertebrae with the goal being to provide enhanced stability while at the same time preserving range of motion.
Now, did you know that infrared rays were actually discovered in the 1800’s? What does this mean to back pain sufferers? Well, there are also Infrared Belts available, one of them called the Lumbar Wrap that uses infrared heat to isolate and improve blood circulation that in turn promotes actual healing. This is low level infrared energy, but it doesn’t come cheap at the moment as these belts can cost in the neighborhood of $2300 dollars plus. The belts also can cause a minor browning of the skin with use over a prolonged use of time, but still are a nice option available as progressive relief studies conducted on back pain sufferers of more than six years showed that daily treatments showed decreasing symptoms over a seven week period.
Three other therapies include a highly controversial current event topic, Stem Cells, the actual “Growing of a new backbone” and even just going out and buying a new mattress.
Since it fair to say that in many instances that treatments for back pain deal primarily with symptoms and relief, not the cause itself, it is easy to see that the goal of this procedure that doctors hope to hope to have to market in five years after clinical trials will be to regenerate damaged intra vertebral disks by using a patient’s bone marrow cells mixed with a gel that is then implanted as part of a minimally invasive surgical procedure.
Growing a new backbone sounds like something out of science fiction, but this is essentially a an outpatient procedure for a patient with damaged or degenerative vertebrae where the patient receives an anabolic drug to promote a person’s natural bone growth. Stronger bones means lessened back pain.
Last, but not least, it is most definitely not an old wives tale about the mattress you sleep on night being important to the health of your back. It can be as simple as going out and really researching the type of mattress that is right for your back and then buying it and replacing your existing one. Replacing a mattress is just something none of us really think about until we get older and begin to experience the aches and pains associated with getting older. This can be relief without drugs, surgery or painful manipulations, so what have got to lose. I always say, it is easier to start with what is least expensive first before moving onto the next option.
There you have it, a brief synopsis of a really great article, so pick up a copy of Reader’s Digest for more and also hit the web as there is a wealth of information available to all of us back sufferers, knock on wood mine is not present at the moment, to provide the relief options we all deserve. Good luck.