Little Silver, NJ was recently named a Sustainable Jersey Certified Community. Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for towns that are interested in becoming more sustainable—more ‘green.’ This successful program has already helped a number of communities in New Jersey to reduce waste, improve environmental quality, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
As a healthcare practitioner, it’s been interesting for me to watch the transformation in our communities in terms of caring for the environment—particularly because there is such a strong tie between concern for the planet and better overall health for our bodies.
For example, we know that it is better for the environment to buy locally produced foods. This often means purchasing New Jersey-grown, organic produce instead of mass-produced foods with a hefty environmental footprint. In addition, an increasing number of people are leaving their cars in the garage whenever possible in favor of walking or bike-riding.
As an increasing number of people are starting to think more carefully about our impact on our planet, isn’t it time we started to treat our bodies the same way?
For example, let’s think about the average back pain patient. Maybe he or she is suffering from a herniated disc or sciatica. This patient’s first step should be to visit a doctor specializing in pain management, who will then do one of two things. The first is to recommend surgery, despite the fact that we already know that 90% of lower back pain cases do not require surgery (1) and that up to $986 million is wasted each year on unnecessary surgeries (2). Even worse, evidence suggests that 53% of all back pain surgeries are unsuccessful (3).
Some doctors may prescribe our hypothetic patient painkillers and send him home. While pharmaceutical intervention is sometimes necessary, we know intuitively that masking pain with drugs is not much of a long-term solution.
There must be more effective, healthier, and more long-term options than these. But what are they?
The Medical Director in our office specializes in pain management. This physician begins treatment using the most conservative (and therefore the healthiest) methodology possible. For back issues, a pain management strategy may include the use of a comprehensive physical therapy program; spinal decompression; acupuncture for pain management; and spinal manipulation (chiropractic care for back pain).
Even better, Little Silver’s pain management patients can find all of these treatment options in our one location. There is no need to subject your body to a long search for the best treatment practitioners in the area, and then drive from office to office for care. I have personally made it my life’s work to provide an integrated care facility with the very best healthcare practitioners in the area.
For some back pain sufferers, pain can be severe and restrictive; that is, it can make it basically impossible to take advantage of physical therapy or other rehabilitation practices. While some medical offices might recommend surgery at this point, our practice is a little different. Instead, our physician may use steroid or anesthetic injections to relieve pain and help patients get moving once again.
1. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
2. National Institutes of Health
3. SICOT, The World Orthopaedic Organisation