Back Pain

Today, Americans are given quite a bad rap when it comes to healthcare and personal health. It is overpriced and unorganized, but more than that, it is overbearing. We are known for over treating and over medicating for a condition that is minimal and can be solved with more natural remedies.

Chronic back pain, and in particular low back pain is one of the most common conditions that Americans suffer from. The advertisement that I chose depicts an overweight Santa suffering from severe back pain in the days leading up to Christmas. After he takes one Aleve, he is back to his jolly self and free of pain. It just displays the mentality our society has that a pill can fix everything, which ties back to the placebo statistics we had studied a few weeks ago. Is it that Aleve is really that effective, or just that it is in a person’s mind that they have taken a pill that should make them feel better, therefore they do? The thing that many Americans do not even consider is that in many cases they can fix their own conditions with a few simple lifestyle changes. By exercising, stretching, eating healthy, losing weight, and getting adequate sleep most can completely eliminate the presence of any back pain. Unfortunately, most people are not willing to do these things to help themselves, they would much rather take a magic pill that really only acts as a temporary band-aid to the real problem. This attitude is very common among a diverse group of people and a diverse group of conditions. For instance, depression, anxiety, and ADHD are also conditions that heavily medicalize. Instead of trying to make changes in your life to manage these conditions or find other outlets to relieve some of the symptoms, most are open only to a quick pill they can take to ease their stress.


This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Matt Meranda says:

    The medicalization of back pain is not due to entirely illegitimate reasons; however, there are a variety of cultural social factors influencing this process in addition to its genuine need for biomedical intervention. While I think over the counter NSAIDs like Aleve work in biochemically valid ways and therefore their use in treating back pain is legitimate, I very much agree that there is a common (hopeful) perception among the American public that pills and pills alone are the best form of treatment. Bick pain emerged as a highly profitable acute or chronic condition that emerging pharmaceutical industries could exploit. Because of this more and more emphasis throughout the past decades is placed on the alleviation of all discomfort, even if that discomfort is something people have been living with for centuries (I imagine pre-industrial physical labor like farming was fairly grueling, and particularly stressful on the lower back). Moreover, I think that because we have so many options for (profitable) treatment such as over the counter drugs or minimally invasive surgery that classifying back pain as an “illness” that inherently needs to be rectified makes a good deal of financial sense. And indeed the condition plagues a great many Americans and is therefore widely accepted under this paradigm of medicalization.

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