New Low Back Pain Guidelines

Yesterday morning, I read an article in the Huffington Post about new back pain guidelines released by the American College of Physicians.

They finally realized that physical treatments addressing tissue functioning are better than simply masking the pain with a pain and inflammation reducing chemical medication.

I admit, I’m a little cynical about this subject, but shouldn’t be, because these guidelines are awesome! At last, the medical establishment realized that a physical injury such as low back pain, which often stems from an original fall, car accident, or simply an accumulation of long-term poor posture, is best treated with physical interventions such as yoga, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, and of course proper stretches and exercises, and not drugs or surgery.

Just the other day, I realized a major flaw in established medical thinking about pain. Or at least it was the Stanford doctor’s thinking who authored a book about opiate dependency. She was interviewed by the NPR show Fresh Air’s host Terry Gross. She said in the interview that “since the mid 1800’s to present day, traditional medical thinking believes that pain is considered bad and should be avoided at all costs”. Before that, one would be considered possessed by something and in the need of being punished…yes, there was thinking like that! Now I understand why we just simply pop a pill without thinking about it when the pain shows up. I applaud the progression from ‘being possessed’ to …. “It’s not your fault!”; however, isn’t it time to move on and align our thinking a little bit more with what physiology teaches us? Since it helps us understand body functioning, can we consult its wisdom? – Physical interventions for physical problems…not chemicals or surgery!

Good, so we did, FINALLY! Now let’s implement.

Let’s get the insurance companies to understand that we want them to follow current guidelines and not pay for what interest groups lobby that they pay for. We can’t have pharma business leaders using us to make money by having us be low-level sickly and sell us pills for eternity. At least in the pain department, we MUST change course. NOW! Too many patients suffer needlessly from musculoskeletal pains such as low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, arthritis all-over-the-body pain, knee pain, ankle pain (….want more?); we have to provide care that is aligned with current basic scientific thinking of physiology and pathology, and not which pain pill works better as compare to another.

And to fully understand, why a healthy movement apparatus is key, lets understand that no other system functions well, if we are crippled and don’t feel like getting up. A government study found that the speed of walking is a good indicator of longevity; being able to move is the key for a good life!

The brain for example needs input from the movement apparatus to stay alert and function well. Walking as a 2 legged human is very, very challenging for a brain. Just ask the robot industry. It is exceedingly difficult to make non-living structures walk and balance on two legs. If we stop walking, our brains become sluggish and stop working well over time. You get my point, I hope!

Let’s rejoice since we have new guidelines, and give doctors and patients chances to implement them.

We are in the process of expanding our treatment approach to align ourselves better with the latest modalities, which are understood to be most effective and efficient in helping patients stimulate their own body’s resources to become pain free and stay that way.

We strive to implement methods that treat all structures of the movement apparatus: skeletal, facial, and neuromuscular.

We use advanced methods such as instrument and drop table adjustments besides the traditional manual approach to reduce global skeletal misalignments and joint fixations.

Our manual muscle techniques focus on the reduction of scarring and trigger points, as well as on invigorating and re-engaging inhibited muscles.

Especially the novel AMIT method has long proven to be most powerful in balancing the movement apparatus. It has helped great athletes such as John Stockton or my patient Bill Romanowski to stay on top of their game for long careers.

To give the patient proper ‘homework’, we evaluate ones functional capacity and then instruct them on proper stretches and exercises.

We hope with these new guidelines, patient care will improve and we’ll see less suffering.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

CM

*Dr. Christoph Muehlinghaus is an Oakland chiropractor & Anatomy and Physiology college professor. Dr. Christoph Muehlinghaus is one of the first chiropractic physicians in California to undergo and successfully complete the AMIT certification program. Schedule an appointment to see Dr. Muehlinghaus here: Request an appointment

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