Surgery most effective at ending back...

Surgery most effective at ending back pain

There are 2 comments on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel story from May 31, 2007, titled Surgery most effective at ending back pain. In it, South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that:

Surgery is twice as effective as physical therapy and drugs for relieving pain and improving mobility in one of the most common back problems, researchers report today.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Kinesthesia

New Orleans, LA

#1 Jun 2, 2007
Most back trouble comes from poor postural habits. Traditional physical therapy addresses symptoms of the problem, not the source of the problem. The source of the problem is that people get used to their bad habits, so they can't tell when they are standing upright or not. In the case of people with the conditions mentioned above, the lower back is habitually hyperextended or in the case of sciatica, often the habit involves gripping in the back of the pelvis and forcing it further forward than it should be in relation to the head and neck. As a result there is a whole lot of excess tension in the spine going towards balancing the head and neck on the spine. Interesingly enough, When someone who is habitually hyperextended stands upright, she usually feels like she is slouching. One of the elements missing in traditional PT is teaching people to be aware of how they are using themselves and learning to distinguish between their habits (what feels right) and balanced use and alignment (what is right).

That the condition mentioned at the beginning of the artical is more prevalent in women should be no surprise. Wearing high heels tends to tip the pelvis forward and hyperextend the back unless a woman has enough awareness to consciously direct her pelvis to remain back. Very few people have that kind of consciousness unless they have studied Alexander, Felkenkrais, Ideokinesis, or some similar movement awareness practice. Herniated disks most often caused by long-held compression in the spine. Compression in the spine is caused by excessive muscular tension that can be brought about by any number of things including stress, injury, movement patterns learned from parents and caregivers, sitting too long, sitting in poorly designed furniture, etc. Surgery isn't inevitable unless the damage has gone on for so long that a person is experiencing muscle weakness. I know a surgeon in New York who refers his patients to Alexander Technique teachers before jumping to the knife. A lot of his patients are able to change the habits causing the herniation in the disks and do not require surgery. However it is not a quick fix. Patterns learned and practiced over a lifetime, do not go away over night.

That said, one of the easiest things a person can do to change habitual hyperextension in the back is to lie on the floor with your feet on the ground, heels in line with and about a hand span away from your sitting bones, and your knees up for 10-20 minutes a day. You can let the knees rest against each other if you have a tendency to grip in the glutes. If the back is so hyperextended that the base of the spine hurts in this position, then lie on the floor with knees up and lower legs resting on a chair or a stool. In this position, because you are lying on the floor, you don't have to hold anything, so you can let go of any excess muscular tension and just let time and gravity decompress your spine. The key is to try to do it (or should I say take time to stop doing?) every day. If you aim for 7 days and get 5, that's great. And really, What's 10 minutes?
Marian

AOL

#3 Jun 4, 2007
So sorry but I don't understand the 2nd study. Why get surgery if patients in both groups were free of pain after 1 year?

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