The 7 Most Important Decisions You Can Make to Avoid Back Surgery (Part 1/7)

Radiofrequency ablation for back pain

(This is a 7-part series that will help you explore decisions that could help you avoid Back Surgery. Always talk to your doctor before starting any health program to see if it’s right for you.)

First, we need to understand a little about the sources and causes of back pain.  Unfortunately, there are many sources for a person’s back pain. the main sources are muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, joints and nervous tissues.  Anyone of tissues can generate back pain.  Also, some back pain can be referred from visceral sources.  We will just focus on the main sources of back pain.
The pain from these mechanical structures in the back can be severe and unrelenting at times.  I know because I have been there.  What is even more difficult to understand is that the pain from one structure can mimic the pain of another structure.  In other words, sometimes joint pain can radiate just like nervous tissue pain.  Sometimes, tight ligaments in the back of the legs can mimic mechanical back pain.  I myself have experienced severe back pain that improved with some hamstring stretching.  It never seems to amaze me how important muscular balance and flexibility are when dealing with pain in the back.  The important message is that you need to investigate all possible causes before ever considering back surgery so that you don’t make a bad decision.



1.  Decide to be Patient, Meditate and Breath. Your body is a remarkable healing machine, but healing takes time. As we get older our bodies take longer to heal and we need to give our bodies a chance to recover from an injury to any one of the pain generators in our back.  (Of course, it is important to seek medical attention when you are injured or have neurological deficits like worsening limb weakness or changes in bowel/bladder control.)  A lot of times, back pain will get better on its own.  As you may have guessed, physicians will take the credit for the amazing job that the body does.  A good physician can point your body in the right direction toward recovery.

One important tool in the road to recovery is reducing spasms and improving blood flow.  Meditation has been shown to reduce muscular spasms and improve blood flow throughout the body.  Deep purposeful breathing is a large component of meditation.  Deep Breathing has been shown to communicate directly with the autonomic nervous system to reduce tension in the body and promote healing.  One famous physician named John Sarno described a tension myositis syndrome (TMS) which basically described chronic back pain in terms of myotonic spasms of the small muscles around the spine which reduced blood flow to the back and worsened back pain.  Dr. Sarno taught and wrote extensively about the mind-body connection. Sarno states that he has successfully treated over ten thousand patients at the Rusk Institute in NYC by educating them on his beliefs on a psychological and emotional basis to their pain and symptoms.  Dr. Andrew Weil, another popular physician, and author, also talks extensively on the connection between mind and body.  He is a strong advocate for the work of Dr. Sarno and Dr. Weil has written extensively on the benefits of breathing and meditation on healing.  Take the time to discover more about these physician authors and it could help you overcome your back pain.

Clearly, there is a great deal to the mind-body connection, but our modern medicine is so technology and pharmaceutical driven that many current physicians have no experience in helping patients understand more about this connection.  Basically, it is up to you to educate yourself on this powerful mind-body connection so that you can point your body on the path to healing and recovery.  Taking the time to meditate and breath is taking the time for you to clear your mind and heal.  Surgery for the back should be one of the last considerations. You can get back pain treatment if it’s too late.

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(part 2 —>>)