The new treatment for back pain turns out to be no treatment at all

April 30, 1991|By Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- The world's foremost experts in dealing with aching backs have come up with a revolutionary new treatment.

For up to 90 percent of all backaches, the doctors concluded, the best treatment is no treatment at all.

"Take two aspirin and don't call me in the morning" was the unofficial motto of the three-day conference, which attracted 25 doctors from 13 states, Canada and Sweden to Chicago last weekend.

"We're used to immediate treatment and response in this country," said Dr. James Weinstein, a spinal surgeon from the University of Iowa who organized the conference. But "back pain has a natural course that does not require intervention."

In most cases backaches will get better by themselves over the course of a few weeks, Weinstein said.

And don't think that extended bed-rest will help either, Weinstein said. In fact, it can actually delay recovery.

Staying in bed more than two days, without the normal motion that circulates blood to the spine, can deprive the aching back of oxygen, he said.

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