Multidisciplinary Treatment

There is research-based evidence that chiropractic, acupuncture, meditation, psychotherapy and some drugs can relieve chronic back pain. What enthusiasts for one kind of treatment over another may forget is this. In clinical studies, not everyone gets relief and any one treatment rarely gives anyone 100% relief. Furthermore, the success of one kind of treatment does not mean the theories behind the treatment can explain the pain. Less back pain following psychotherapy does not mean the pain was psychological any more than the success of acetaminophen in relieving your headache means it was caused by a lack of acetaminophen.

If however, you look at chronic pain as a multi-factorial disease, then the research on treatment outcome makes more sense. The success or failure of any one treatment may depend on the degree to which it addresses or fails to address factors that play a role in maintaining someone’s pain. We know that multidisciplinary treatment usually leads to greater success overall and this is probably because more factors are being addressed,

Treatment can be categorized into four broad groups: psychological, physical, pharmacological and surgical. Some specific kinds of treatment may be hard to categorize and some categories may overlap. And of course, not everyone needs all forms of treatment for all problems.

In the following posts I will briefly review the above treatment categories. Please remember that our understanding of the neurological/psychological processes involved in pain perception remains incomplete. If we study chronic pain as a disease rather than as a symptom, perhaps new treatments will emerge as a result. Our less than perfect current methods leave too many people in pain for us to ignore.

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