New York Times story on Back Pain

What a beautiful sunny weekend! I hope you got out and enjoyed it for all it’s worth. And I’m pretty sure that when today, like every day for the past twenty years, someone will call to tell me that they hurt their back.
As a massage therapist, I’ve been trying to explain to people how we can help them with their pain and most likely help them avoid taking narcotics or having costly and painful surgery.
We’ve never been ones to give you a hard sell on massage therapy. Like you, we know what it can do, and what it can’t. Sometimes you need a doctor, sometimes, you need a physical therapist, or a surgeon, or a chiropractor. Sometimes, exercise and stretching can do the trick. I know patients who have been kept off the operating table by a book!

And we’re here to help you sort that out.
But sometimes, the best thing you can do is nothing at all.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the American College of Physicians. Their most recent recommendations for treatment of back pain highlight the importance of staying active, and stress that “non-pharmacological” treatments be tried first.

In the twenty years that I have been helping people deal with (among other things) back pain I have always tried to recommend the least invasive treatment with the fewest side effects. We live in a culture that prizes productivity and encourages us to seek quick fixes for our pains and ailments. Sometimes surgery and prescription medication are lifesavers – but when they are the first resort, we can end up with needless impairment and, sadly, a nation with far too many addicts.