Back aches

By John Ellis

One of the most important discoveries of medical history was that physicians ought to wash their hands in between treating different patients.

Hundreds of thousands of women have died because physicians did not... not until Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis in Vienna in the 1840s observed that many more women died on obstetric wards attended to by physicians who performed autopsies than on wards attended to by midwives who were not involved with decaying corpses.

Ignaz Semmelweis' discoveries and conclusions were discarded by the medical profession during his time, mostly because the idea was just too simple.

Of course, no medical knowledge is required to compare a death rate of 20 percent on physician-attended wards to a death rate of 2 percent on a midwife-attended wards.

All that is needed is trust in statistical data... and such trust is very scientific indeed, regardless of whether the science is medical or meteorological.

The solution to the high death rates on physician-attended wards that Ignaz Semmelweis proposed was just as low-tech as his observation was simple: physicians should wash their hands after autopsies of dead bodies, and before putting their fingers into the vagina of a woman who was about to give birth or had just given birth.

I refer to Ignaz Semmelweis to make the following point: plain statistical observation is a fairly good path to scientific truth. This does not need complicated medical terminology, nor expensive laboratory equipment.

Based on my own statistical observations, I am propagating a few revolutionary, very simple medical strategies for some common ailments and health concerns.

Among them are the following:

1. An overload of dietary protein is what in many patients is causing migraines and lesser headaches. Protein is not a good fuel food because of toxic by-products during digestion. One should not consume more than 100 gram per day.

2. For optimal sexual function, eat meals that supply enough animal fat.

3. When going on a weight loss diet, consider not only fuel calories but also "psychological calories". The psychological satiation value determines how much you eat, not the burn value.

Well, here I go again, and this time, I take on lower back pain.

All good science starts with an observation. Based on this observation, a hypothesis is formulated. This hypothesis is then verified or falsified either in tests or statistically.

I am a keen observer, and I have an open mind. I believe in causal connections between nutrition and states of health. Much less is accidental than is commonly assumed.

Those who have read other articles of mine may know that I have been suffering from migraine headaches for almost 40 years (not as a child).

I have known for decades that somehow, my migraines were food-dependent. And until I discovered that on overload of dietary protein (a macro nutrient) caused them, I suspected a variety of micro nutrients or xenobiotics (small amounts of biochemically active substances, either natural or synthetic), like tyramine, mono sodium glutamate, or food preservatives.

If one adheres to the idea of chemicals in food causing migraine, then it makes good sense to try to wash out these chemicals from one's blood circulation (they must be in the circulation as they enter the body through the gut, but cause discomfort in the head). And how to wash out harmful substances in ones bloodstream?

Drink water.

Most of the water one drinks is absorbed by the blood stream, and then withdrawn from the bloodstream by the kidneys, together with substances that are not needed or not natural in the circulation.

It is indeed possible to enhance the kidneys' task of clearing the bloodstream of unneeded or unnatural substances simply by drinking ample of water.

I did this for decades.

But when I discovered that not circulating substances in micro amounts caused my migraines, but the ingestion of too much protein, I stopped drinking water excessively.

And what happened?

After about a week into my low protein, less water diet, I had a really bad attack of lower back pain.

It wasn't from lifting some heavy items. It also wasn't a sports injury. But the lower pack pain was so severe that it took me 10 minutes to role myself out of bed.

It was my first lower back pain in many years. And I knew what was different: I had given up my routine of drinking plenty, plenty of water every day.

So, I had, and have, an hypothesis, that drinking not enough water was, and is, causing a negative health condition.

No, not the migraine, but the lower back pain.

So, I decided to again drink a lot of water indeed. Several liters within several hours.

And I continued drinking my usual large quantities during the next few days.

The effect was starling. The next day already, my lower back pain was just half as severe as on the first day.

And on day 3, I would have put it at about 10 percent of the first day. No longer a major handicap.

I understand that it34-2 is highly unusual for severe lower back pain to disappear after just two or three days.

I had lower back pain once in my 20s, and after some 10 days, I consulted a physician and he prescribed so-called Stanger bath sessions, with low-current electricity passing through the water, tickling my skin. (It surely was an expensive therapy, but anyway, the insurance company had to pay it.) But my lower back pain lasted for several weeks nevertheless.

As of this time, I would not go as far as to proclaim that drinking several liters of water every day for several days is a cure for lower back pain.

Anyway, I am neither selling water, nor the idea that not drinking enough of it is what is behind lower back pain. Thus, I have no economic interest in the correctness of my hypothesis. It really just is in the interest of wider human knowledge.

I do think I have good data, but it stems from the observation of just one object, me myself.

In order to verify or falsify my hypothesis, I would like to invite feedback by others who are currently suffering from lower back pain.

You may want to drink several liters of water a day. Anyway, I is highly unlikely that it will do any harm (unless you have an enlarged prostate and problems passing water).

Then please tell me what happened. Did your lower back pain disappear as quickly as it occurred? My email address is in the page header.


Index of all articles pages


An Unorthodox Look at Backaches
Tauber, Joseph M.D.
Journal of Occupational Medicine, April 1970 - Volume 12 - Issue 4 - ppg 128-130

Lumbosacral Junction Roentgenographic Comparison of Patients with and without Backaches
Clarence A. Splithoff, M.D.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, August 22, 1953, Vol 152, No. 17
August 22, 1953, Vol 152, No. 17

Women have headaches, men have backaches: Patterns of illness in an Appalachian community
Claire F. Horton
Social Science & Medicine, Social Science & Medicine

The power of the visible: the meaning of diagnostic tests in chronic back pain
Lorna A. Rhodes , Carol A. McPhillips-Tangum, Christine Markham, Rebecca Klenk
Social Science & Medicine, Volume 48, Issue 9, May 1999, Pages 1189-1203