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 Back Pain  Holistic-online.com


Chronic pain has a high social cost. More than 11.7 million Americans are significantly impaired and 2.6 million are permanently disabled by back pain alone. One national survey found that more than 550 million days are lost from work each year because of pain. The cost in disability compensation and toss of productivity associated with pain in the USA is estimated to be as high as $100 billion annually.

Back problems affect all kinds of people, men as much as women and young as well as old. Even among 16-24 year olds, one in three had back pain in the past year. It's most common among the middle aged: almost half of those aged 45-64 had back pain in the last year. Young people are more likely to have brief, acute episodes of back pain, while chronic pain is more characteristic of older people. Just over one in four people over the age of 65 suffered back pain for the whole year. The following table shows the demographics of back pain sufferers in U. K:

Men  Women 16-24 25-44 45-54 55-64 65+
40% 41% 33% 36% 47% 47% 40%

Many people who contract pain find that there is no satisfactory cure for it after prolonged treatment. This makes them desperate and irritable. To make things even worse, many people, including their doctors, often wonder whether the pain is real or the person is exaggerating for personal gain (such as disability, lazy to go back to work, etc.). This makes them more irritable and often the patient ends up in distancing from the friends and other social circles. Now we have a situation of pain combined with emotional stress and pain to make the situation even worse than what it was before. 

Studies conducted at the University of Pittsburgh's Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute and elsewhere have documented the important role that thoughts, feelings, and other people's responses can play in chronic pain. These studies showed that psychological problems rarely cause pain; but the longer chronic pain exists, the more likely it is that emotional factors are prolonging it. The good news is that there are psychological interventions that can help make the pain much more manageable, if not totally eliminate it. Similarly, chiropractic techniques are found to be very useful in alleviating the back pain as well as drug therapy for short term management of pain. We will take a look at each of these options. We will also discuss the theories of pain in order that we can understand how the mind-body interventions and therapies such as acupuncture manage pain.

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