The American College of Physicians (ACP) released new recommendations last month for treating low back pain...and Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners are rejoicing over the new protocol. Low back pain is one of the most pervasive physical conditions among the population and one of the leading reasons Americans schedule appointments with their physicians. The new guidelines, however, are now advocating the use of CAM options as the primary form of treatment. "This is the direction most physicians are heading" says Aimee Orta, owner of Balance Healing Center, "and I'm pleasantly surprised to hear the ACP make the recommendation official, nationwide."
With opiate addiction on the rise, a general feeling of pharmaceutical overload, and increasing medical costs, more people and their doctors see massage and other CAM treatments as their best choice for long-term care. Luckily, the ACP's recommendations now suggest that clinicians and patients "initially select non-pharmacologic treatment". These treatment options include heat, exercise, massage, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and spinal manipulation. Only after patients have tried CAM treatments with inadequate response should the clinician recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. The ACP goes on to state, "Clinicians should only consider opioids as an option in patients who have failed the aforementioned treatments..."
When Balance Healing Center started treating low back pain clients in 2001, people still viewed massage, acupuncture and bodywork as a luxury to indulge in only occasionally. "It's no secret that the Midwest is usually one of the last regions to integrate alternative health approaches. I am hopeful this new protocol will continue to move us forward.", commented Orta.
If you're already managing your low back pain with non-drug resources, you're ahead of the game. If, however, pharmaceuticals are your go to management tool, it's time to update your strategy. But how do you find which treatment style is right for you? And how do you pick a practitioner?
"The best approach is to trust your gut.", Orta noted. "Don't automatically go to a practitioner because they were recommended by your co-worker, spouse or friend. Just because the therapy or practitioner worked for them does not mean it will be a good fit for you. Always talk to the practitioner or at least someone at the office first. If you're not satisfied, look elsewhere. There’s no need to compromise when it comes to your healthcare. We live in a great community, teeming with resources and excellent providers. Take advantage.”
Orta also recommends that you "feel comfortable in the environment." Most chiropractic and physical therapy offices bill insurance and are busy and clinical in feel. Conversely, most CAM facilities tend to have a soothing and inviting ambiance. In fact, massage therapists and many other CAM practitioners are not approved to bill insurance in Illinois. This leaves the focus of their practice on the healing nature of their profession rather than the administrative tasks and business-like atmosphere. Orta adds, "there is nothing wrong with wanting a quiet, relaxing environment for your therapeutic work. The more comfortable you are with the treatment, practitioner and office, the more willing you will be to work through the issues you need addressed."
For additional information, contact Balance Healing Center at (773) 774-5610 for a phone consult to help you identify the right treatment approach for you.
Balance Healing Center Staff
Collectively we have 100+ years of experience. We all have something to say to help you find your way.