back pain

I've had back problems for over ten years, throwing my back out 1-2x/year, and ending up in bed for a couple days each time. An X-ray in 2009 showed L4/L5 disc issues, and an MRI in 2019 showed the same.

However, I'm now learning that back pain is mostly stress related vs. physiology. Doctors have started doing X-rays and MRIs of people who have never had back problems, and they are finding that many of those people also have disc issues! So why do some people with disc issues have major back pain, and others have none? Stress. (The New England Journal of Medicine later published a study by Maureen Jensen showing no correlation between herniated discs and chronic back pain. And back surgery has been shown to rarely work.)

Some people seek relief from "alternative" providers such as chiropractors, massage therapists, etc. Personally, I think these are placebo. If you believe they will work, these types of "laying of hands" treatments can work in the short term, but they don't eliminate chronic pain.

I'm also learning that staying in bed for days of recovery is a bad idea. The pain you feel is being caused by the brain reducing oxygen to your lower back (or elsewhere), so you should stay active to increase blood flow - go for a walk, etc.

Dr. John E. Sarno


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