Chronic Back Pain: Final notes

Healthcare providers must clarify misperceptions about back pain and guide patients toward effective active management of their symptoms. Educating patients and their families about back pain is an effective way to improve health as a nation, decrease health care costs due to unnecessary surgery, and get productive workers back to performing their jobs. A mass-media campaign in Australia was successful in changing public attitudes and beliefs about back pain. Benefits included changing the behavior of healthcare providers and reducing workers compensation claims related to back pain. These are outcomes that would be helpful to our local and national economy.

We understand that much of this information may be confusing or contradictory to what you have been told by other respected health-care professionals. This revelation can also be potentially upsetting. Participation in any activities at the UI Spine Center is voluntary. We treat all patients respectfully and hope to have respectful conversations. We assume you are here for our best professional advice and are open to considering our treatment recommendations. We understand that some patients may not believe this approach will work for them. For those patients who do not understand or continue to have unrealistic beliefs or expectations of their pain, unfortunately we may not have any further treatment recommendations. We hope that by reading, studying, and understanding this material, you will become more empowered and educated to ask questions of your medical providers and challenge them to explain to you why they are making their recommendations. We believe that patients are best served when they and their physician share the decision making process on how to evaluate and treat their pain in a collaborative manner.