I read an article the other day entitled “FDA Warns Against Fat Dissolving injections”. Without getting too politically outspoken, I consider that a huge victory for the public, simply because the FDA is not always adamant and decisive when it comes to the riskiness of pharmaceutical use, even with thought to be “safe” medications. In the article, the Food and Drug Administration says that the drug Lipodissolve “has not been proven safe and effective”. It is not like I really want to split hairs or anything, but since when has being proven “safe and effective” been a requirement for 100% of the drugs on the market. But I digress.
Anyway, the article goes on to say that lipodissolve is being used as a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction, which is supposedly used to dissolve fatty deposits around the legs, arms, and belly. I happen to live in Florida, and if you believe that above claim, I also have some great land to sell you in these parts, just so happens it in a swampy area, but I got to tell you, it’s an up and coming area. The FDA further goes on to say in this article claims made for lipodissolve injections are false and misleading in that they are not supported “substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience”. I don’t know for sure what the motivation behind FDA’s push for “cracking down” on these supposed fat melting injections it may very well be that it doesn’t like the competition with its state hospitals.
Either way, I guess it doesn’t really matter what the motivation of the FDA are, if at the end of the day the general public is protected from dangerous and unproven technology However, the entire story stinks of hypocrisy when I read it, and felt the need to at least give some kind of commentary of my own. Number one, it’s not like the liposuction procedures are proven safe and effective, just ask Kanye West mother who died of a cosmetic surgery. Number two, the FDA is missing the entire point of what the actual procedure implies, and misses the boat on a valuable opportunity to not only protect the public, but actually educate and empower the public.
Unfortunately, it’s not the entire FDA’s fault. As a society that wants everything now, without the accountability, we tend to live in the “should be” world, vs. the “is” world. We should be able to have a magic pill. You know, the kind that is a purple one, that you watch on television, running though a field, smelling the flower, floating on air, and all your problems can be helped by the purple pill. You can go to bed at night, take the magic pill, and presto you wake up in the morning, and all your problems are fixed. That is the “should be” world. Who wouldn’t want to live life this way? On the other side of the coin, you have the “is” world.
The reality is, we have to be accountable for our actions and there is a cause and effect. Whereas in the “should be” world you have the magic pill, on the other side of the spectrum, you have the cold hard reality. The cold hard reality is you don’t get to be Jack in the bean stock, buy some magic pills, and wake up with a huge path to a pot of gold at the top of a bean stock. That is what the FDA should be teaching. Because we live in the “is” world, if the FDA was truly concerned with protecting the general public, then they would be teaching us the rules of the “is” world. Proper nutrition education, proper lifestyle management, proper exercise recommendation and prevention in general are the fundamentals of what the FDA should be pushing. Instead, they push other pharmaceuticals for an array of conditions that are much better helped through lifestyle modification and habits (i.e., weight bearing exercise and exercise in general for “pre” osteoporotic patients, let alone osteoporotic patients). What is the heck is “pre ____” anyways???
So what does this have to do with neck pain?
Well, that’s easy. When I have a consultation with many of my patients, they have what I call “selective amnesia”. When we go over their case, and determine how bad their neck pain problem is, how much they suffer, how they are unable to do the things they love to do, how severe it is actually impacting their life. When it comes time to take responsibility for their situation, they tend to be looking for the magic pill solution. Take a pill, go to bed, and all that postural stress you put on your body, your job, your day to day activities, your sleeping habits, all disappear with that magic pill. Forget about putting the time in to learn what it is that you are doing on a daily basis to continue the downward spiral into continued neck and upper back pain. Forget about the time and energy to strengthen deconditioned musculature, posture, core strength, and flexibility that is needed. The selective amnesia kicks in when we discuss the time, energy, and money that is going to have to go in to changing their life. If you happen to agree with me, if you happen to understand the sacrifices that must go into changing your life, to help with your aches and pains, then you realize it doesn’t happen overnight. Safety and effectiveness should always be a concern, but living your life with accountability, living your life doing the things you love to do, were meant to do, is your job either way. Not the FDA’s job.
Till next time, watching your back, and neck.
Doctor Joel Rosen