Author Topic: Were any of these therapies I just received not pseudoscientific? (Low back pain  (Read 897 times)

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Offline God Bomb

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1.  Infra red heat therapy
2. Ultrasound therapy
3. Electric suction cup therapy(?)
4. Dry needling
5. Spinal manipulation
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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Sounds like "pop medicine" to me. But I bet you're going to defend them.
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Offline Caffiene

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But I bet you're going to defend them.

Given that the thread title asks if any are "not pseudoscientific", I dont see where youre coming to that conclusion.
If anything, he sounds incredulous that whoever administered them to him thought it was defensible.
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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But I bet you're going to defend them.

Given that the thread title asks if any are "not pseudoscientific", I dont see where youre coming to that conclusion.
If anything, he sounds incredulous that whoever administered them to him thought it was defensible.
I'll be happily surprised if that's true. But I've seen many a promotional thread started the same way.
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Offline God Bomb

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he sounds incredulous that whoever administered them to him thought it was defensible.

it was honestly weird and not what I was expecting at all.  It was meant to be a physiotherapy clinic, but after a brief consultation they just did some kind of cookie cutter session where they used all their gadgets.  The adjustment at the end, which was the simple twisting one, was probably the highlight of the hour. 

The infra red thing I can buy it works because heat therapy can work for inflammation (I think).  ultrasound?  For all I knew she was rubbing a tv remote on my back I didn't feel anything.  The electric cupping thing felt weird, but I'm not even sure my pain is muscular since it's localised to my spine, adn the dry needling they assured me wasn't chinese acupuncture was actually pretty painful.  It felt like they stuck in needles and then wiggled them around, given that my 'trigger points' were so near to my spine, there's not much flesh there so it actually hurt quite a bit.
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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How did you wind up there?
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Online The Latinist

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I think there's some mixed evidence for ultrasound, and heat seems reasonable as long as it's actually heating. Dry needling is crap. The other stuff I don't know.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Caffiene

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Im not a doctor, but Ill offer opinions anyway:

The infra red thing I can buy it works because heat therapy can work for inflammation (I think).

Plausible I guess, with the assumption that a) inflammation is a particular problem associated with your injury, b) the heat transmitted by the infra red is of sufficient power to produce a significant effect, and c) the problem is in a location that can be targeted (ie, if the problem is well below the skin, can infra red transfer heat that deep into the tissue?)

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ultrasound?  For all I knew she was rubbing a tv remote on my back I didn't feel anything.
Has a Cochrane Review about it.

Quote from: Cochrane Review
Key Results

We did not find any convincing evidence that ultrasound is an effective treatment for low-back pain. There was no high-quality evidence that ultrasound improves pain or quality of life.

We did find some evidence that ultrasound may improve back-related function—the ability of people to use their backs. But those effects were so small they may not make any difference to patients’ lives.

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The electric cupping thing felt weird, but I'm not even sure my pain is muscular since it's localised to my spine
Not sure what the electric part is supposed to accomplish or how it works, but cupping is usually BS aimed at "drawing out toxins". edit: As far as I can see, the electric part is just electrically powered pumps instead of heat to create the suction? If so then still complete BS.

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the dry needling they assured me wasn't chinese acupuncture
This is probably correct, in that my understanding is "dry needling" is an amorphous concept with no real definition or standardised form / standard practices. Acupuncture is one type of dry needling, but they can just poke you with needles at their whim and call it dry needling, not necessarily in accordance with chinese acupuncture. That said, "trigger points" strongly correspond to acupuncture points.


At a glance, the heat is the only one that doesnt have immediate warning signs.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 08:41:45 AM by Caffiene »
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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The VA had an "alternative medicine" clinic at their Danville, ILL., facility back in the '90s. Don't know if they still have it, but no other facility that I've been to offered such "treatment". I agreed to talk to the "doctors" there, basically to shut up my PC . I guess he had to push it because he was told to do so. The chiroquackter wanted to try some "adjustments", I said no. He said, "okay, let me test your tension." Then he twisted my spine. I advised him his child-producing days were over if he tried that again. I also let the accupuncturist have a go, because I knew it was harmless, just irritating.  I didn't go back.
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Online daniel1948

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My opinions (also not a doctor):

1. Infrared heat. Maybe helpful, if heat was indicated. Maybe easier to apply than a heating pad or bottle. Or maybe just an excuse to use a more-expensive machine to apply the heat.

2. Ultrasound therapy. Probably bullshit.

3. Electric suction cup therapy. Cupping. Bullshit.

4. Dry needling. Bullshit.

5. Spinal manipulation. See next paragraph:

I've been to chiropractors when the back pain became intolerable. Their manipulation gave me some relief that lasted about 5 minutes, and then the pain was back in full force. But in Spain I went to an osteopath who manipulated my back. First she massaged my back to relax the muscles. Then she twisted me hard, but did NOT do the "snap." I left pain-free and was jogging again in a week. I really believe she fixed me. Six months later I visited her again after another back injury with the same results.

Most back pain is not the result of spinal misalignments. It's the result of cumulative minor muscle damage which eventually causes the muscles to spasm. The pain in your back is in the muscles of your back, not in the bones of the spine. A good stretch (which the osteopath did, but chiropractors do not) can put you right again. In the long term, prevention involves strengthening the weak muscles through resistance work, and stretching the tight muscles.

Quackery is not always either-or. I once went to a physical therapist who did some legitimate work on me: strengthening and range-of-motion stuff, and also put me on an electric-shock machine, which in my opinion was bullshit. Some doctors mix a little bit of quackery into an otherwise legitimate practice.
Daniel
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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On the gripping hand my Aunt went to a chiro for two years after an auto accident. No apparent problems, but he scheduled her for a follow-up appointment and she went, like clockwork. At the end of the two year period, apparently all the insurance company would pay for, he announced that he had detected signs she had broken her hip at some point, possibly 30 years ago. So she went for another two years of appointments with him.

"It's this kind of shit that gives me trust issues." Nick Fury.
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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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I've heard of ultrasound breaking up things like kidney stones.  But lower back pain? 
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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I've heard of ultrasound breaking up things like kidney stones.  But lower back pain?
That's done with catheter, right? The tip right next to the stone?
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Online Morvis13

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I agree with Daniel. As a tall person who sits all day I have lots of lower back issues. Heat good to relax tired muscles. Chiropractor bad. Massage and stretch the right way really helps.

If you need physio ask your doctor for a reputable place.

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Offline arthwollipot

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My niece is a qualified physiotherapist. My dad - her grandfather - asked her whether he should use a heat pack or a cold pack for his sore shoulder. She responded, essentially, "whichever you like - neither actually work."