New way to combat back pain without surgery

One doctor who once relied on surgery to treat patients with back pain is prescribing an alternative option, meditation and sleep.
4:03 | 06/09/21

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Transcript for New way to combat back pain without surgery
Okay, George, now to a cutting-edge technique to alleviate back pain. About 16 million adults, that's about 8% of all adults suffer from persistent or chronic back now a doctor who once relied on surgery to treat his patients changing his approach. Erielle reshef has the story. Good morning. Good to see you. Reporter: Good morning. Good to see you too, robin. If you've ever experienced sooerz serious back pain you know relief can feel elusive but now that former orthopedic surgeon says he's helping some of his patients go pain-free without going under the knife and it's all about the mind/body connection. At 56, this woman is a self-described type a personality whose work as an icu nurse suffered when she started experiencing chronic debilitating back pain. I was out for like three to four days on the ground. I could not sleep on the bed I would be on the floor laying in miserable pain. Reporter: But after following the techniques of former orthopedic surgeon and author of "Do you really need spine surgery" she says she was able to short-circuit the pain. It disappear. Chronic pain is curable. Once you learn the tool, know how to solve it. For 32 years he handled complex spine surgery in Seattle, Washington, operating on more than 200 patients a year. I was zealous to do surgery. I felt guilty if I could not find a reason to do surgery because I felt like I was the last hope. Reporter: But after dpek cades in practice he says he came to the conclusion that in some cases back surgeries do not address the root causes of chronic pain and in some cases shouldn't be performed at all. Disc degeneration is normal. It is not a problem as far as pain but I've seen people have an operation done for that diagnosis over and over and over again. Reporter: So Hanscom radically changed it focusing on the mind-body connection. Forgiveness, sleep, exercise and meditation, what he describes as calming down a fired up system based in science. I had over 100 patients with structural problems that normally would have done very well with surgery get better. Reporter: The cardinal rule, don't center all your daily conversations around your page. Talking about it constantly reinforces it. Once you get through the stresses, help to calm down, improve the sleep, et cetera, the whole life change, the pain disappeared, they began to thrive. I like that David has what I think as a spine surgeon are fresh ideas in terms ofreating people with chronic pain that is not related to a structural problem and I'm going to use the techniques he talks about in his book. I think there is an overemphasis to the exclusion of surgery that in many cases can really help people get better. So pain can get better but if it's not getting better don't stretch it out longer than it has to. Reporter: He runs remote group sessions and many of his followers say they are pain-free after decades of coping with chronic issues. I had severe back pain and I was told that I didn't get this taken care of with major operations and so forth, I might not walk and I totally have pain in my back and not anymore. When you let your body do what it needs to and release it, it transforms your pain. Reporter: The American academy of orthopedic surgeons says that Dr. Hanscom's practices are good and you may not want to prolong that too your pain could last longer but there is some hope here. Absolutely some hope here if you don't have any structural damage and it has helped so many people and it's such a chronic issue, it is. Hey, erielle, thank you. This is going to help some folks. Appreciate it. You are welcome. You take care.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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