I ran across this rather amusing anecdote posted by GruntDoc about the guidelines for chiropractors in the ER, which I won’t quote from since he prefers that you read it in context.

However, Orac of scienceblogs fame made a rather astute observation in respect to GruntDoc’s post:

Whatever benefits (or lack thereof) chiropractic may have in the treatment of chronic back pain, one thing you can say about alternative medical treatments with some confidence is that they are in general pretty useless for acute problems of the kind seen in most emergency rooms. Next they’ll be calling chiropractors in to treat spinal fractures.

Sums it up pretty well if you ask me. (By the way, if you’re curious about my opinions concerning chiropractic treatment be sure to read: Don’t I Need a Chiropractor?)

But putting all that aside, what was also interesting was a comment about rebound headaches left on the post by A Bohemian Road Nurse that reads as follows:

I’ve also found a lot of people with constant “migraine” headaches whereby Immitrex, narcotics and NSAIDS are not working are really having “rebound headaches”. My sister, who suffered from just such a headache merry-go-round didn’t believe me about the existence of rebound headaches. But she reluctantly tried my suggestion of weaning herself from pain meds. After three days of misery, she was headache free. It worked. Now, she only gets the ocasional “real” migraine, around her menstrual cycle, for which Immitrex DOES now work. (I know this doesn’t cover everybody, but it is a thought to consider for some people with lots of headaches….)

I first heard of rebound headaches a few years back from (I believe it was) Dateline NBC. The gist of the story was that constant use of NSAIDS like Ibuprofen can actually lead to worse headaches once the medication wears off.

It eventually turns into a vicious cycle.

I can’t help but wonder if there might not be a similar “rebound back pain” associated with over-reliance on pain meds for the treatment of back and neck problems. It would explain why a lot of minor injuries develop into chronic problems.

I’m sure there is a flaw in my logic somewhere… I’m just thinking out loud.