Back Pain and Band Aids

Don’t Treat Back Pain with a Band-Aid

We’ve all been there… we’re reading the newspaper or opening the latest piece of mail and suddenly we cut our finger. Without hesitation we’re off to the kitchen for a Band-Aid. That’s all good and well, but what happens when we hurt ourselves more severely? When we, for example, slice our finger open with a chef’s knife, or cut our arm on a rusty nail? Do we place a Band-Aid on it and hope it stops the pain and prevents infections? NO! We get stitches, we disinfect the area, and we take any steps required to heal the real problem so that future issues don’t arise.

So the question is this: Why do most people who suffer from back pain believe it will heal itself or that it might disappear overnight? The unfortunate truth is that many people today think if they ignore their back pain it will just “go away”. Well, I’m here to tell you that covering up that stabbing, pulling, or dull aching feeling in your back could lead to major issues sooner rather than  later. 

One of the most important things to be aware of is that a tight back, hurt muscles, pinched nerve, or any other back-related issues, cannot be treated in the same way as a paper cut. You can’t just put a bandaid on it. What’s a “bandaid” for back pain? Painkillers…injections…sitting around hoping the pain will go away if you just “rest for a week”.

Why do these solutions NOT work? Because they don’t address the real reason your back pain started in the first place. They’re just bandaids.

All too often back pain goes untreated, leading to prolonged suffering, oftentimes increased damage, and, ultimately, a sense of general unhappiness in a patient who, otherwise, could have been treated effectively had the problem been addressed sooner.

So, why do most people turn a blind eye to back pain, and why do back issues not get treated with the seriousness they deserve? Well, the answer is a complex one, but mostly it’s because it is oftentimes easier to mask the pain than to tackle it head on. Fear of pain, as well as the spread of misinformation, often lead to lots of people taking painkillers and sitting on their couch for a week. Let me tell you more…
Though most people don’t put a Band-Aid on their lower back, many people do precisely the same type of action by covering up their aches in different ways. One of the most prevalent of these cover-up mechanisms is painkillers. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen patients with severe back pain turn to painkillers to numb the ache, feel temporarily better, and to carry on with their daily routines. The truth is, painkillers do nothing but mask the pain for a short duration of time; they cannot cure the injury, point the patient in the right direction, or even promise any sort of sustainable and pain-free future. All painkillers do is delude: in fact, long term painkiller abuse can be so detrimental that the back pain might, eventually, be the least of the patient’s problems. Kidney failure, stomach ulcers, and even brain damage can be seen in patients who use painkillers for extended periods of time. Do you want that to be you? No, of course not!

But even taking into account the overwhelming evidence pointing to the dangers of painkillers, one of the most worrying aspects of painkiller usage is still the fact that the CAUSE of the pain is hidden. That’s right – the pain can never be healed if the root-cause of the pain isn’t looked for. Painkillers do not heal pain – they promote the longevity of pain by covering up the cause of the discomfort. I have seen so many patients aggravate their back-issues, and potentially set their healing processes back considerably, by masking the pain through the use of painkillers such as opioids. I do not want this to you be you! You do not need to live a life of ever-present pain – don’t mask the pain, DEAL WITH THE PAIN. Here’s how:

The single most effective way of dealing with back pain is by visiting a professional, qualified physical therapist. Far from applying a Band-Aid, a PT will advise the patient, heal the problem area, and promote the maintenance of a healthy back through the application of hands-on treatment, do-it-yourself stretches, and ongoing support and advice. Seeing a PT gives you the best shot at overcoming back pain as well as preventing future back-related issues from arising. Remember, masking the pain through the use of painkillers and other alternatives doesn’t treat the CAUSE; visit a PT today to find out the root-cause of the issue in order to effectively relieve pain, heal the problem area, and to prevent further injury.

Please remember, your back pain is NOT a paper cut and it shouldn’t be treated in the same way as one. If you want to talk to a professional PT about your back pain and are interested in ways of treating the CAUSE, not just masking the issue, click here NOW.

Dr. Jamie So

Jamie So, PT, DPT, is the owner and physical therapist of Manual Therapy Effects.


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