A colleague of mine sent me this article from MSNBC about back surgery. There were a few statistics in it that were staggering including that 26% of those who have back surgery return to work compared to 67% of those who elect not to have surgery. One thing that most people don’t realize about back pain is that most of the time this pain stems from degeneration of the joints within the back. Degeneration is normal and happens to everyone–all of our joints eventually wear out and break down. However, the stress and strain we place on these joints or the way in which we are moving or not moving can accelerate the degenerative process. As the article eludes to, nothing can take away back pain 100%. Though, there are effective non-pharmacological and non-invasive treatments that do help many people with back pain including physical therapy. Many people are not aware that physical therapy will help to relieve symptoms and develop a strategy plan to reduce strain and stress on the affected area of the spine. I’ve found through treating individuals with back pain that degeneration of the joint can be accelerated by the way someone moves, posture, weakness, or inflexibility. These are all addressed in physical therapy. So, although the joint is degenerated, and there is no cure for that…. we can address contributing factors to the continued stress and strain to that area, so degeneration to the joint in the spine can be slowed and the joint can be better protected. There is no silver bullet for back pain, but there is a silver lining. If you have back pain, especially chronic back pain and have never seen a physical therapist you now have a very good treatment option in physical therapy.