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Ask the Expert Dr. Anthony Virella, What Are Some of The Biggest Myths About Back and Neck Pain?

At one point or another, almost everyone has “tweaked” their back or neck and feels how debilitating this type of injury can be.  Luckily, most episodes of back and neck pain subside in a few days with some rest and over the counter medications.

However, for those with chronic conditions that are unrelenting and do not subside, the condition may be more serious.  Deciding on the proper treatment for chronic spinal conditions can be quite confusing as a variety of treatments exist.  Sadly, many infomercial and “natural remedies” can mislead patients and provide them false hope.

One of the biggest myths regarding spinal conditions is the use of “herbal remedies”.  For someone with a condition such as a herniated disc, that spinal disc is impinging on a nerve root of the spine and causing the sharp radiating pain synonymous with spinal conditions.  To date, no herb or plant derivative has the ability to re-position that spinal disc back into its proper position.  Herbs and supplements are not able to make their way into the spinal disc and reduce the size of the disc, which is needed to relieve pain.  Also, any herbal remedy should be backed by scientific evidence or studies.  Despite the promises made by many of these remedies, reliable scientific study does not support these claims.

Another myth is the use of TV infomercial products such as spinal decompression belts and other equipment.  The utilization of spinal decompression techniques can be effective for those with mild spinal conditions but should be overseen by a qualified medical professional.  While these products may offer some patients temporary relief, they do not correct the underlying problem that is causing pain.

A far more effective protocol is physical therapy and core strengthening as these have a direct impact on posture and the stability of the spine.  When these more conservative treatments have failed, it may be time to consult a spine specialist.



dr. Virella2Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board-Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has offices located in Westlake Village and Valencia.  Call us at 805.449.0088 to schedule an appointment.


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