Updated: Jun 13, 2021
2021. Have we moved on from the 2007 Physio UK debate?
Doctors have been told to no longer prescribe non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or opioids for back pain. They don’t work. Taking the former for more than 14 days also has the added side effect of ripping the stomach apart requiring further drugs. The latter because a very worrying opioid dependency emerged.
No shit Sherlock! How come they didn't see that coming?
Although some treatment models in 2007 suggested they don't need to change what they do in the way of treatment for back pain, we are definitely still learning about the body, and not just the amazing stuff around gene therapy etc., but also about a substance called fascia. It is found absolutely everywhere in the body. It had pretty poor coverage until a non-medical group, lead by Dr Robert Schleip (a doctor of biology), decided to take the research further leading on to the first ever conference on fascia in 2007. The results coming from fascia research in 2020 suggests fascia is definitely having an impact on back pain due to the hundreds of millions of sensory nerve endings discovered in the fascial layers.
Over the years I've seen many patients present with lower back pain. All of them have consulted a professional from the conventional treatment options mentioned in Part 1 of this blog. Some have read self help books. Some have consulted all of the above over a period of many months and, in some cases, years. Some, without the benefit of medical insurance, have spent hundreds and thousands of pounds.
They end up at my door in sheer desperation. They've found me through google, a media article or because someone has recommended me due to there own experience "give the neuro-fascia release Bowen Therapy a go because it worked for me". It worked for me too back in 1999, which explains why I use Bowen Therapy as part of my treatment protocol.
I can't comment on whether osteopathy or chiropractic treatments have updated their knowledge and treatment protocols since the 2007 debate. My personal experience of these modalities hasn't been great and the only time I've been to a chiropractor they dislocated my toe.
But the journey of those coming to my clinic, suggests to me that generally the main players in lower back pain treatments haven't really moved on. This isn't to say they don't make a difference. I'm just saying they don't necessarily make a lasting difference.
Of course over the past 18 months the Covid situation hasn't helped. Physio sessions have been online or over the phone. I actually believe Physiotherapy has progressed with designated MSK (Muscular Skeletal) clinics. However, the issue here is the limited amount of time and sessions each person gets offered either through private medical insurance or the NHS. If you get to the end of the 6-8 sessions and haven't fully recovered, that's it. You've generally had your turn.
Since the 2007 Physio UK debate, I’ve studied back pain from a number of different angles and read my fair share of books on the subject. The latest was called Surgery, The Ultimate Placebo, written by Ian Harris. He's an orthopaedic surgeon no less!
Oh, the irony, but I'm so happy he's lifting the lid on the subject. Who owns lower back pain in 2021? It is still the person who has the pain. Can your back recover?
It really depends on asking yourself the following questions
Are you ready to own your back pain?
What does "recovery" mean to you?
What does recovery mean to the professional treating you?
How involved do you want to get?
Is the area of your back pain the cause or a symptom?
Consider for a moment... who, in your everyday life, is paying if you don't own your pain?
AND YOU by not being able to: exercise the way you want to; kick a football with the kids; walk the dog; garden and sleep, leading to extreme tiredness, irritability, frustration, etc.
Now we know the medical world doesn't have the answers, it's time for you to do your own research.
Over the years I've done mine and continue to do so. Footnotes: Physio UK - was an excellent educational organisation that sadly is no longer in operation. Dr Robert Schleip - German Rolfer, Biologist and World leading fascia researcher.