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Acute back pain? Some suggest learn to ignore it

It's not uncommon for a parent to tell a child to buck up and walk it off. The advice usually comes after a fall from a bike or some other sort of injury that's just the result of living. The older we get, though, the more likely it is that life and time will begin to get the better of us.

Among the most common injuries recorded in doctors' offices in America are those that are back related. Figures offered up by a National Public Radio report today say that more than 25 percent of Americans indicated that they had recently suffered from low-back pain.

In those instances when the pain is so severe that it leaves the person disabled and unable to work, seeking disability benefits from Social Security may be the wise course to follow. Getting the help of an experienced attorney is always advised.

Surgery, steroid injections and doses of painkillers are seen as the most common response offered by doctors to the challenges presented by low back pain. But according to the NPR report, those treatments often don't work and may even make matters worse. The alternative, experts say, may be for patients to simply be taught to ignore the pain.  

The theory behind the notion, as one doctor puts it, is that many people who suffer from chronic lower back pain don't have any physical issues that explain their issues. Rather, they have hypersensitive nervous systems and merely fear pain.

To fight the problem, the recommended process is a six-week regimen of focused exercise under the guidance of specially trained therapists. As the exercise gets more rigorous, the therapists watch for pain reactions in the patients and encourage them on how to deal with it. Over time, many say their chronic pain eases or goes away completely.

Promoters of this form of back "boot camp" admit it doesn't work for everyone. But for those it does, they say it can be a godsend.

Source: NPR, "Pain In The Back? Exercise May Help You Learn Not To Feel It," Patti Neighmond and Richard Knox, Jan. 13, 2014

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