How your “bad back” could literally be killing you

Plus, the simple, drug-free solution to banish back pain for good

There’s no question that chronic back pain can have an enormous impact on your quality of life.

And unfortunately, it’s a pretty common problem. Research indicates that back pain affects a good half of otherwise well-functioning and highly active older people.

But regardless of how much it might interfere with your daily routine, most people wouldn’t consider back pain to be a lethal problem.

However, a shocking new study shows that’s a dangerous misconception. 

Believe it or not, recent research shows that frequent and persistent back pain paves the path to an early grave. Which means finding safe and effective ways to manage it could ultimately save your life.

When disability leads to death  

Researchers at Boston Medical Center followed more than 8,000 older women for an average of 14 years. The goal was to assess the role chronic back pain has on disability and mortality rates later in life. And their findings were disconcerting, to say the least.

First, some details about the study: Researchers took baseline back pain measurements, and then followed up two years later to measure pain again. After four years, they questioned subjects about their daily living activities, and observed them in action.

Results showed that the disability resulting from back pain probably explains its association with mortality. And let me be clear—it’s not a small association by any stretch of the imagination.  

Overall, women who reported regular, unrelenting back pain were 24 percent more likely to die during the study than the pain-free women.

That’s right—back pain raised mortality risk by nearly a quarter. Close to half of this effect could be traced back to difficulty with daily activities, like walking and meal prep. Meanwhile, struggles with walking speed and frequent standing up from a sitting position accounted for the remaining increase in risk.

These findings appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. And they’re a wake-up call to anyone with back pain. But especially for older women, who are the demographic most likely to wind up with this debilitating condition.

How to stop chronic pain before it starts

This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about back pain recently—particularly among older women. In fact, you may recall our discussion about the role of menopause in disc degeneration back in the October 2017 issue (“The secret cause of back pain every woman needs to know about”).

Since this study featured older women as subjects, the discussion remains relevant. So if you missed my recommendations on natural hormone replacement for back pain prevention, you’ll definitely want to go back and read it. Simply sign into the Subscribers section via www.DrPescatore.com.

Today, however, I want to address the other major cause of that nagging, persistent backache: inflammation.  

Chronic inflammation is at the root of arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, and every other type of pain—including back pain. And as I often point out, if you don’t rein it in, it can lead to more serious conditions, like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Needless to say, this is a problem you want to address sooner rather than later.

For one, researchers from the University of Florida recently confirmed that inflammation and pain are indeed vicious cycles. Inflammation increases pain, which in turn triggers more inflammation, thus causing even more pain…and on and on. This is particularly true in older adults.2

Researchers say the sooner you treat lingering inflammation, the more likely you are to prevent acute pain from becoming chronic.

Putting out the fire without risky pills

The problem here is that the most popular choices for back pain relief—namely, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids—come with a whole different set of risks. So needless to say, I don’t recommend taking them.

There are a number of safer options for acute pain relief out there. Simply see the sidebar to the right for some of my go-to recommendations.

But of course, supplements aren’t your only drug-free option in the quest to banish back pain…

Mind-body medicine offers powerful relief

In any discussion about back pain, yoga always gets top billing as a powerful drug-free source of relief. Not just because it’s a safe, gentle way to work out your body. But also because it offers an entry point into meditation.

And research shows that this is an equally critical component of natural pain management.

Consider the following, recently released study: Back in the spring of 2017, New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery launched a pilot meditation program geared toward patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions. It served 122 participants, and included a monthly meditation workshop along with a weekly meditation conference call.

The program focused on techniques like mindful breathing to address stress and chronic pain. And its impact was impressive, to say the least.

For example, one third of the patients used meditation in place of pain medication five or more times per week. More than half reported that mindful breathing helped them manage their chronic pain. But it also improved daily function—and, as you might expect, promoted calmness and a serene state of mind.3 

This isn’t to say that your pain is all in your head, of course. But there’s clearly a strong mind-body component behind back pain in particular. Which helps to explain why cognitive behavioral therapy can be so effective. In fact, research shows that incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy into pain management can reduce the use of dangerous opioids by as much as 60 percent.4

The bottom line? Pain is a complex condition—but with the right strategy, you won’t need to rely on dangerous prescriptions to get through your day. Safe, lasting relief simply requires targeted supplementation and a comprehensive approach that addresses your mind and your body.

The solutions we talked about today are just the tip of the iceberg. So if you struggle with chronic pain—in your back or any other part of your body—I urge you to check out my Pain-Free Life Protocol.

It’s an innovative, all-natural plan to relieve and eliminate any type of acute or chronic pain… safely. For more information about this online learning tool, or to enroll today, simply click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask about order code: EOV3V203.

Fast, effective, SAFE pain relief from Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet

Of course, when you’re in pain, you just want something that can ease it—quickly. Which is why so many people reach for NSAIDs…or wind up with prescriptions for dangerous opioids. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe, effective, non-addictive pain remedies available. Here are a few of my favorites:

Arnica. This herbal, homeopathic remedy has been used for more than 500 years to treat pain and inflammation. But it’s got some modern science behind it as well.

One 2014 study looked at about 200 people with osteoarthritis in their hands. Researchers found that a topical arnica gel worked just as well as ibuprofen for relieving pain. You can use topical arnica creams, or you can look for homeopathic sublingual tablets (in the 30x potency). I recommend up to five tablets under the tongue, up to five times per day.

White willow bark. This is nature’s aspirin. In fact, aspirin is actually a synthetic form of salicin, the natural compound in white willow bark. But the natural form is much, much safer. I typically recommend 400 mg tablets, up to four times per day.

Curcumin. This is the potent active compound in the spice turmeric. One study found that 2 grams of curcumin extract provides pain relief similar to ibuprofen. Some of my favorite branded, bioavailable (easily absorbed) forms include: Meriva®, Curcumin C3 Complex®, BCM-95®, and Theracurcmin®. To read more about these supplements, check out the December 2016 issue.

Capsaicin. This hot pepper extract stimulates circulation, desensitizes nerve endings, and acts as a local anesthetic. It’s usually used topically. And studies have shown it’s very effective for many different types of pain with few—if any—side effects.

Best of all, these pain relief supplements are relatively inexpensive and can easily be found in your local pharmacy or grocery store. They’re also available from a number of online retailers.

References:

1. Roseen EJ, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Jan;34(1):90-97.

2.Cruz-Almeida Y, et al. Exp Gerontol. 2015 Dec;72:150-6.

3. Wimmer M, et al. Complementary Practices As Alternatives to Pain: Effectiveness of a Pain Management Program for Patients in an Orthopedic Clinic [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018; 70 (suppl 10).

4. Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM) Inaugural Global Pain Clinician Summit 2018. Presented November 9, 2018. s


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