Just as technology is evolving to provide new opportunities for managing pain, so is the mainstream acceptance of alternative therapies in treating the cause and symptoms of pain in a drug-free, non-invasive manner.

Bad Backs spoke to a number of allied health professionals from a broad range of industries to bring you the best of the non-traditional therapies which are making headway in the management of back pain.

And the common theme: the link between the body and the brain.

Professor Peter O´Sullivan of the Curtin University School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science explains: “It has increasingly been recognised that factors such as a person´s beliefs about their problem, as well as fear, anxiety, stress, depression and social isolation are linked to chronic pain.

People with chronic pain also have difficulty perceiving their own body posture and movement patterns, often moving in a tense, guarded manner.

Classification-based cognitive functional therapy is an approach to managing pain which is based on (1) considering all these factors during patient assessment and (2) targeting management at those factors most closely linked to an individual´s pain.”

So with the mind and your body’s messages to the brain in mind, Bad Backs bring you simple and cutting-edge techniques to manage your pain.

Kusal Goonewardena, Head of Melbourne University Sports Medicine, Founder of Elite Akademy: “We are getting strong results with a clinical reasoning technique called the Ridgway Method (RM), a breakthrough technique that helps back pain sufferers achieve results in 2-12 days. This technique has turned previous understanding about pain on its head, leading to a paradigm shift in physiotherapy. By looking at pain differently and better understanding ´referred pain´, where a back problem creates pain in another part of the body, we improve diagnosis and treatment.”

Keith LeBouf, Chiropractor, Essendon Chiropractic: “When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissue, and organs of your body are designed to function well and resist disease and ill health. A common interference to the nervous system is the 24 moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these bones can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system, disrupting the transmission of controlling nerve impulses. Chiropractic is focussed on restoring proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function, leading to better nervous system function, facilitating a greater level of health, enhanced quality of life and human performance.”

Trish Zuidema, Naturopath, Alimenta Health: “Pain is a symptom of inflammation, and is often exacerbated by the tension associated with feeling pain. Relaxation of the nervous system is one of the first things I look at to help ease pain, to reduce the tension caused by experiencing pain. Recently, my clients have had great success using high bioavailability Curcumin (found in Turmeric) combined with other herbs, such as Boswelia, Devil’s Claw, and St John’s Wort, which is particularly beneficial for neural pain. If the pain is trauma-related, Arnica has amazing ability to reduce post-injury swelling/bruising if applied straight away – always something that should be in every sporting association’ s first aid box.”

Maria Davis, Clinical Pilates, Embodimove: “According to Carolyn Myss, world-renown Medical Intuitive, we have entered the age of the energy renaissance, the age of the soul. We have begun to acknowledge the human energy system. Pain prevention is about looking after our physical body, listening to and managing our thoughts, and introducing meditative practises. This combination of physical, emotional and spiritual brings us back to neutral, where healing occurs.”

Dr Catherine Hart, Clinical Psychologist, Optimus Health Group: “Pain management has been revolutionised by the introduction of a bio-psychosocial approach. The treatment implications are that the role of the psychologist, within a multidisciplinary team, has become more varied and an intrinsic part of pain evaluation, management and treatment. Research is continuing to show the positive impact of psychological treatments such as mindfulness on pain management. Psychologists are educating individuals about effective prevention of pain, as well as evaluating outcomes for patients and treatments, as well as employing pain management techniques.”

Domenic Pisanelli, My Vital Health Solutions: “A highly effective, non-invasive means of pain, tension and stress relief utilises a small device called a SCENAR that reaches into the body´s cellular level. SCENAR is Self-Controlled Energy Neuro-Adaptive Regulator. Scientifically developed in Russia, initially for cosmonauts in space for long periods, SCENAR therapy was developed as a means for promoting the body´s own healing process. It does this by energetically communicating with the body´s cells directly via the vagus nerve, stimulating cellular activity that has degenerated, and relieving celluar activity that is inflamed.”

Narelle Lee, Hypnotherapist: “In Time Line therapy, we believe that all chronic pain stems from negative emotions that have not been dealth with on a conscious level, and that the source of pain is something that the client needs to contemplate. The use of hypnotherapy in pain relief is not new and has been successfully practised for many years, however, I feel it is moving more from the shadows into the mainstream. Time Line works because it deals with the emotions that are captured in the body, and through dealing with those, the pain is released. The mind body connection is extremely powerful, and increasingly we are seeing more and more case studies where Time Line therapy has been used effectively in the management of chronic pain.”

Author: Katherine Macpherson