Sciatica research is a constant endeavor in the back pain industry. However, instead of finding effective methods of actually curing the pain, most research is performed to develop new symptomatic treatments which enslave the patient into a lifelong regimen of medical care.
Virtually the only exception to this rule is the researchers who are developing surgical interventions for sciatica. However, these doctors and scientists are even more unenlightened, since the overwhelming majority of patients with any form of back or neck pain should be treated nonsurgically. The miserable curative statistics of most sciatica surgery procedures make that abundantly clear.
This commentary focuses
on research within the sciatica treatment sector. We will help patients
to learn all about the latest research findings and clinical studies,
as well as how to put this knowledge to use in their own care programs.
Research scientists are almost always sponsored by some large medical corporation which has a very definite goal in completing their project. This goal typically entails finding supportive evidence to clear the way for FDA approval of a new drug, surgical procedure or other device.
Many of these big budget studies completely lack objectivity, since their final results are planned in advance and all they have to do is find some way to support the prearranged conclusion. Basically, the team is hired to prove a product or procedure works, no matter how they have to do it. This type of skewed research is directly responsible for the huge incidence of drug-related problems which occur every year, such as the recent Vioxx scare.
The goal is to push the product through and get it to market, regardless of its effectiveness, risks and possible long-term health effects.
Meanwhile, objective scientists have discovered facts about sciatica which are contrary to many established medical myths. In general, back pain is one of the most poorly diagnosed and treated conditions in the entire medical industry.
This is really a shame, since there are hundreds of quality studies available which show the mistakes being made in diagnosis and subsequent care. Unfortunately, most of these studies never make it to a wide audience, since they have no corporate sponsorship.
In fact, many of these studies are actually ignored by doctors and therapists, since the findings typically go against the basic economic motivations of the back pain industry itself. This is behavior bordering on criminal, but it goes on every day.
Here are samplings of some of my favorite sciatica findings:
Patients who seek any form of medical care for sciatica will stay in pain longer than patients who do not seek any care. Patients who do not seek any care will also recover more completely than patients who receive care.
Oxygen deprivation causes changes in the nuclei of affected cells. These changes have been found in sciatica patients, fibromyalgia patients and other patients with conditions thought to be related to psychosomatic causation, escalation or perpetuation. This evidence has been ignored by doctors who still support the tired old mythology of structural back pain causations.
Sciatica treatments offer generally poor results. Most do not do anything to resolve the painful issue and the ones which do seek resolution usually fail. Some of the successful treatments are obviously due to the placebo effect and others offer only temporary relief.
Surgical endeavors may attempt to cure, but typically fall short of this goal. Surgery on the spine rarely produces good results over a timeline of 7 years or more. A great number of patients endure worsened symptoms, while others have no change in their pain after surgery. For patients who do enjoy relief, the positive results are usually temporary.
Remember to stay objective when reading every sciatica study. Try to keep in mind the motivation of the people involved and whether or not the results actually make sense. Any corporate sponsored project is likely to be skewed, since the goal is purely financial.
Sciatica is big business and is one of the most profitable of all healthcare specialties. Not considering this when thinking about how patients are diagnosed and treated is naïve in the short-term and catastrophic in the long-term. In fact, the medical mismanagement of back, neck and sciatica pain has caused the epidemic of chronic dorsopathy conditions which are clogging the arteries of our hospitals right now.
If you are interested in some truly innovative research on the causes and cures for sciatica, I highly recommend reading my widely acclaimed self-help book, Cure Back Pain Forever.