I am sure everyone would agree that low back pain is one of the most common and chronic diseases that affect almost every adult at some point in time. Americans alone were estimated to spend $50 billion per year for treatment and management according to the National Institute of Health.
And since this is one of the most common causes of job related illnesses, the most difficult to treat and the most costly, people have resorted to various treatment regimens to relieve them of the pain symptoms. Management included, pain relievers, exercise, spinal surgery and manipulation and alternative approaches like acupuncture and biofeedback.
In February 2010, Zara Hansen co-authored a study in the UK on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of low back pain symptoms.
The objective of which was to challenge how people think about their condition and change their behavior towards it.
This is based on the belief that although it is a physical symptom, behavior may affect how the pain is manifested in an individual.
CBT is a combination of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy that focuses on evidence based treatment of the “here and now” and on alleviating symptoms. The initial therapy sessions lasted for 15 minutes focusing on keeping the individual active with no bed rest and the analgesics were only given when seen appropriate.
Diversional activities were also used like reading a book, watching a movie or listening to the radio. Another session focused on identifying and expressing of negative behaviors toward the symptoms and helping them change the behavior to positive ones.
After a series of therapy sessions information on the back pain symptoms were gathered and compared after 3, 6 and 12 months. Responses after 3 months showed a comparable outcome with other treatment alternatives like acupuncture, exercise and spinal manipulation. And after 12 months, 59% percent of the patients reported having no back pain and 65% noted that they were satisfied with the outcome of the sessions.
Although Hansen believed the result outcome can be considered a useful and cost effective means of treatment, by giving patients a new alternative solution to back pain management, a US pain management specialist, Dr. Laxmaiah Manchikanti doubted if CBT will be accepted in the US no matter how effective it was in the UK.
The use and outcome of CBT may vary with every individual, but it is safe to say that if it had been effective to some, it may also work for you.