Jonah Lehrer, author of the new book Imagine: How Creativity Works, recently wrote a fantastic piece for Wired magazine called, "Trials and Errors: Why Science is Failing Us."
The entire article is worth a quiet, concentrated perusal.
The section of greatest interest to readers of this blog may well be the section on back pain. Lehrer discusses the oft-documented finding that vertebral disc damage (such as herniation and bulging discs) is not correlated with pain. Medical journals have been reporting these results for more than a decade, yet physicians have continued to use MRIs and x-rays to "diagnose" back-pain patients with disc damage--even when that diagnosis does nothing to explain the pain a patient is experiencing or guide their treatment.
A quick search of PubMed.gov (where everyone should look when they want access to scientific research abstracts) reveals dozens and dozens of research findings showing no basis for the use of diagnostic imaging for low back-pain patients. I have 2 bulging discs in my neck and 2 severely degenerated discs in my lumbar spine due to the presence of my spinal fusion and hardware. But I rarely have back pain.
Scratch that. I rarely have back pain due to the physical "abnormalities" in my back.
The only time I experience back pain is when
The same is true for my clients and students.
What does this mean for you? Simply put:
So why is my back pain free, but my neighbor with a perfectly clean MRI has debilitating back pain and sciatica almost daily? I have dedicated my life to addressing the three points outlined in the list above. If my neighbor wants to be pain free, I can teach him exactly what's necessary to get rid of the pain. And I don't need an MRI, an x-ray, or any kind of diagnosis to do it. A solid foundation in functional-movement, anatomy, and body-mind fitness is all I need.
To read Jonah Lehrer's full article, click here.
Sara Hauber, MA
Coach, listener, observer, writer, and erstwhile teacher; constantly curious
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