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Why does my back still hurt?

So, you had all the tests. Initially the pain was very severe. It is getting better. You still have discomfort. It has been more than 6 months since the original pain.

While you are better, it is still frustrating. Yet, the medical doctors state that there is no specific solution for your back pain.

I know. You are angry. It is 2020. If we could put a man on the moon, how, we cannot find a cure to this pain?

This is a very common conversation in my office. So let me tell you how I answer that question. Unfortunately, not everyone wants the truth.

Back pain is a part of life. There is more than an 85% chance that some day, in your life, you will experience a debilitating back pain that effects the ability to work, to have fun, and to be intimate with your lover.

While things like disc herniations, and broken bones can heal, the natural process of aging still continues. The discs do wear down over time. That is why everyone, after age 50 starts to get shorter. The discs degenerate, flatten, and thus causes you to get shorter.

Bones start to spur as the cartilage wears down, and the body reacts by enlarging the surface areas to less the pressure on the bones.

Muscles and ligaments, with their repetitive use, stretch, and loss their elasticity.

We all know this is happening. We can see it in our faces. There are wrinkles, the hair greys, some start to bald.

Aging face

While those degenerations are not painful, the other degenerations that you do not see, the bulging of the discs, the spurring of the bones, and the stretching of the ligaments and tendons occur to each and everyone of us. This process of degeneration causes pain, stiffness, and increased soreness with use.

Bulging disc

When we are young, we naturally assume we will be painfree for the rest of our lives. But everyone, after a certain age, has some pain. Whether a trick ankle, or knee, or a stiff frozen shoulder, or a pain to the neck or back, it will happen if we live long enough.

So if you want to know why you are having some pain, we must also accept that some of it is part of the aging process.

In certain circumstances, the pain can be severe enough that a surgical option may be appropriate. That includes situations where we replace your joints, or relieve the pressure on your nerves. But before you get to that solution, we must all be realistic to know that it will never be the same. We do not have the medical technology to make you back to normal. We cannot reverse the process of degeneration. We do not have the fountain of youth solution that has been pursued since the beginning of time.

While it is true that injuries can accelerate this degeneration, know that the only factors we can control is maintaining our weight, eating a proper diet, exercising and stretching appropriately, and avoiding smoking. All the factors are mostly out of our control.

While many of you are frustrated, know you can still make a difference by your attitude, and by controlling what was discussed before.

As I tell my patients, if we accept that you will have pain, then you must then decide how to live with that pain. You can think positively and do what you can control, or you can think negatively and live in despair. I know it is not easy. I know for every two steps forward, there is one step back. But you must try, as there is no other choice.

Joy or Misery?

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Last modified: April 20, 2020

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