The method, called Souchard's global postural re-education, involves stretching and strengthening of para-spinal and other muscles (abdominal wall) that have become weak and shortened through stress and inadequate or overuse. This process improves symptoms by correction of the patient's posture and decompression of the spinal canal.
"These results are exciting, because other treatments for severe and chronic back pain have limited or no benefit, and the pain rarely goes away on its own," said neurologist Conrado Estol, MD, PhD, of the Neurologic Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "This method is easy for physical therapists to incorporate into their practices after appropriate training. For patients, having an effective treatment without the risks of surgery and the side effects of chronic medication is wonderful."
The study involved 102 people who had severe pain for an average of seven months due to spinal disc protrusions, spinal canal stenosis, or narrowing, or other disc disease. Of those, 82 had lower back pain and 20 had neck pain. They all had received different combinations of treatments for more than six months, including regular physical therapy, rest, oral and intramuscular/intravenous anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, and epidural injections.
The pain caused severe changes to the daily routines of 26 of the people, meaning that they stopped working or exercising, could walk fewer than five blocks without stopping, and had to make significant changes to their usual routines. The pain caused moderate changes for 76 people, meaning they were missing work or workouts, could walk fewer than 10 blocks without stopping, and could not
Contact: Marilee Reu
American Academy of Neurology