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Spa Treatments for Back Pain


Common causes of low back pain include lumbar strain, nerve irritation, lumbar radiculopathy, bony encroachment, and conditions of the bone and joints. Other causes can be pregnancy, kidney problems and tumors so if you have persistent low back pain you should have it checked out by your physician.

Lumbar strain (acute, chronic)

A lumbar strain is a stretching injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back. The stretching incident results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. Lumbar strain is considered one of the most common causes of low back pain. The injury can occur because of overuse, improper use, or trauma. Soft-tissue injury is commonly classified as "acute" if it has been present for days to weeks. If the strain lasts longer than three months, it is referred to as "chronic."

Nerve irritation

Back Pain

The nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical impingement or disease anywhere along their paths—from their roots at the spinal cord to the skin surface. These conditions include lumbar disc disease (radiculopathy), bony encroachment, and inflammation of the nerves caused by a viral infection (shingles).

Two German studies on acupuncture, one conducted at the Orthopedic Surgery and Research Center in Dusseldorf and the other at Georg-August-University in Goettingen, found that patients undergoing traditional orthopedic treatments for chronic lower-back pain saw significant improvement after as little as four 30-minute acupuncture treatments per week compared to those who received no acupuncture or a placebo treatment. "About 2,500 orthopedic doctors that we have trained in Europe have seen the same clinical outcomes," explains orthopedic surgeon Albrecht Molsberger, M.D., one of the authors of the Dusseldorf study and president of the German Acupuncture Research Society.

If you're considering acupuncture, it's important to go to a licensed acupuncturist (visit to find one in your area). Just be sure that the root of your pain is nothing more serious than a strained muscle. "You should have a physical first to determine the cause of the pain, and be sure to give that diagnosis to your acupuncturist," says DeSilva.

People with chronic back pain showed significant improvement in general pain, back pain, mood and health satisfaction after three weeks of varying therapies at a spa resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria.

"Contribution of Individual Spa Therapies in the Treatment of Chronic Pain" was conducted by Gerhard Strauss-Blasche, Ph.D., Cem Ekmekcioglu, M.D., Gerda Vacariu, M.D., Herbert Melchart, M.D., Veronika Fialka-Moser, M.D., and Wolfgang Marktl, M.D.

The study involved 151 subjects with an average age of 58, all of whom had experienced strong back pain for at least one year. Participants spent three weeks at the resort in eastern Austria, where they received two to four spa treatments per day.

The treatments included mud applications, carbon dioxide baths, massage, exercise, spinal traction, hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.

The spa physician prescribed each subject's treatment based on individual health status and which therapies the subject was inclined toward. On average, subjects experienced about four of the available therapies, some more frequently than others, for a total of approximately 37 therapy sessions per participant throughout the three-week stay.

General pain, back pain, negative mood and health satisfaction were measured on the first and last days of the study; a follow-up measurement was taken six weeks later. At the end of the study and at follow-up, a significant improvement was noted for all four outcomes.

Although little connection could be made between specific spa treatments and the positive outcome, the spa therapy as a whole proved successful.

"Except for the electrotherapies and, to a lesser extent, spinal traction, the treatments used in the context of spa therapy all have some known physiological and/or psychological effect," state the study's authors. "Nevertheless, it was found that the bulk of improvement could not be explained by the number and type of individual spa therapies the patients received during their stay."

The authors present several theories as to why it was the general spa experience, and not the specific therapies involved, that improved subjects' health and mood. One is the placebo effect of professional attention and subject involvement, regardless of the treatment. Also cited was the "structure" of the spa experience, "where phases of rest and phases of physiological stimulation are alternated in a stress-free environment."

"The most prominent finding is that each therapeutic application accounts for only a small percentage of overall treatment outcome," state the study's authors. "Therefore, omitting an individual therapy should not affect outcome to any large extent." 

Cryotherapy using cold stones or hot stone therapy depending on the cause of your low back pain may help.  Stone Therapies may benefit a wide array of other health issues. 

You should discuss your health needs with your physicians before considering any spa treatments. Spa Treatments are complimentary treatments to medication, exercise and dietary changes that your physician prescribes. 

Stone Massage


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Disclaimer: Information on this web site was gathered from many sources in public domain such as published books, articles, studies and web sites. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss your health conditions and treatments with your personal physician.




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