So I have been busy lately with exams in midterms. It's been a while since I made an update. I may not be as 'regular' in updates as I wish I could but I still update this site with the latest news on health whenever I can. And I can talk a lot if given the opportunity. I am taking 6 credit hours towards an IT degree and still working more than full time as PT. The one thing I am regretting is 'my lost week' last week in terms of exercises due to mid terms. I should be able to resume work-outs as soon as I can.

There is a whirlwind of events that transpired in South Florida since my last post. First, there was a clamp down on 'pain mills' that multiplied in this area like ant colonies in the pat couple of years inviting crooks who sell them and addicts who procure them. Pain meds have been abused a lot in this part of the world. It poses a great challenge to me as a health care worker to address this epidemic.

I have a friend who, if not for my prodding to avoid pain by  non-narcotic options would have become a casualty now of these pain mills. I was suspicious initially, thinking that he could just be using pain to get access to meds until he told me he was ready to 'end it all' if he kept on dealing with  horrible pain for the rest of his life. All the other conservative approaches: multiple PTs, cortisone shots, did not stop him from taking pills  month after month and the amount was increasing. Tha'ts when I suggested surgery. I just did not feel that a person should  become dependent on pain pills in life. Pain pills are friends for a moment but they can kill if they stay for the rest of your life.

Anyway, after surgeries and recent rhizotomies, he is now back to swimming and though his work can sometimes trigger the pain, resting usually relieves it. But the search for a lasting non-narcotic solution is  ongoing.

The trouble with pain is - it is a symptom that we try to get rid of  - as a symptom. We  fail to address its source, its roots, its cause. For every pain there is a cause.  And that cause is injury to the body. It could be a muscle tissue, ligament, bone, disk, organ, any part of the body. As long as the  source is neglected and ignored, it will linger.

The most common pains are easy to manage. Tooth aches, headaches(some), stomach aches, post-surgery pains, sports injury pain are pretty much manageable. Pain meds are sometimes necessary in this case, albeit temporarily for one to live a normal life. These are called acute pains.  Then there are other pains that linger forever and are the main culprit when we talk of pain-med dependencies. We talk of chronic back and neck pains that can last anywhere from six months to forever. These are the ones difficult to treat and the ones that will most likely lead a person into some form of pain med dependency or addiction.

The question is - why does the back cause so much misery to some people when it hurts?

There is something I call antenna principle.

 

old_antennae

 

Most of us are born without back pains. When you see an infant, back pain is probably the last thing he would cry about. Something, in our growing up years,  happens to our bodies. First, at twenty five, our bones would have reached their full maturity. At age 30, our physical decline begins. Also at this age, we go to college, go to work and burden ourselves with lots of responsibilities.

In college, we sit longer to study or listen to lectures. At work, we mostly sit down especially in jobs associated with desks and and remain  immobile for  long periods of time. These activities only lead to a few problems. Our erect bodies are like the old antennas attached to out roofs. First we erect the spine of the antenna and then support it with wire strings until it stays straight.

Imagine the antenna as the spine and the supporting wires as muscles. Those muscles do a good job as long as these are  well-connected and are equal in tone (tautness) and obviously not broken.

Lets say something happens such as an accident and one muscle get injured. Most likely the the upright antenna will lean to one side. To prevent collapse, the other muscles will tighten up.

Leaning leads to postural deformity. The unequal tightening of muscles lead to core muscle imbalances. If we'd look at the details of this, the spine which is made of different vertebras interconnected by disks, ligaments and muscles will be placed in an over compensation mode.

There begins man's problem of back pain. What causes back pain? It's postural mal-alignment,  muscles imbalances and overall weakness. Once we correct this 'leaning antenna', the pain will get resolved.