Have you tried various treatments for your back pain, but nothing seems to help? Are you wondering why that is?
In my experience, this typically occurs because the first and most important step in overcoming back pain is skipped. In this article, I will explain what that first and most important step is, why it so important, and why it is often overlooked.
The First and Most Important Step
The first and most important step in overcoming back pain is identifying the root cause of your back pain. You might be thinking, “I already know what’s causing my back pain – I have disc degeneration, a herniated disc, or something else.” While it can be beneficial to know that you have something wrong with your back, it’s not sufficient. The same source of back pain, for example a herniated disc, can be aggravated by different things in different people. For instance, one person might be aggravated by bending forward, another person by bending backward.
By “cause”, I mean determining what consistently triggers your back pain and understanding why your back becomes irritated. In my experience, the cause often lies in a person’s habitual posture, movements, or activities that overload their back. Identifying this aspect is crucial for successfully overcoming back pain.
The Importance of Identifying the Cause
Identifying the cause is vital because the most effective way to resolve any problem, including back pain, is to address the cause. Without addressing the cause, any attempts to alleviate your back pain – whether through chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, physiotherapy, or massage therapy – will likely provide only temporary relief. Treating symptoms without addressing the cause is akin to trying to extinguish a fire while simultaneously pouring gasoline on it.
Additionally, it’s crucial not to guess the cause of your pain. Guesswork increases the risk of being wrong and potentially making things worse.
To illustrate these points, consider the analogy of a person who loves gardening but consistently gets hit in the head with a rake handle because of a habit of leaving the tines pointing upward. If this person consults a doctor for headaches without identifying the true cause (rake handle hits), the doctor might prescribe pain medication or suggest drinking more water to stay hydrated — ineffective solutions if the root cause remains unaddressed.
Why this Step is Skipped
Perhaps you’re wondering why, if knowing the cause is crucial to overcoming back pain, nobody ever told you what was causing your back pain. While I can’t speak for others, I can share why I used to skip this step.
There were two reasons, somewhat interrelated:
- Lack of Knowledge: I didn’t know how to determine the cause. My chiropractic training primarily focused on diagnosing and treating various conditions and the associated pain, with minimal emphasis on identifying and addressing the root cause.
- Undervaluing the Importance: Initially, I didn’t consider finding the cause important. In medical circles, it’s commonly believed that, in most cases, it isn’t possible to pinpoint the specific cause of a patient’s pain. If no red flags (indicating serious issues like cancer or infection) are present and there are no radicular signs (such as leg numbness), patients are often diagnosed with non-specific back pain. Treatment options are then explored through trial and error.
Thankfully, I now recognize the importance of determining the cause of back pain and have pursued further training to enable me to identify and address it. This has allowed me to help patients overcome their back pain even when other approaches have failed.
Overcome Your Back Pain
If you’re ready to overcome your back pain and would like me to help you, please fill in the Schedule an Appointment form below or call us at 905.481.0731. If you know others who might benefit from this information, please share it with them.