“I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.” – Neil Gaiman, American Gods
One of the most common complaints people have is some type of back pain. In fact, it remains one of the main reasons people miss work or see their health care providers. Although most back pain is temporary and relatively minor in nature, it is also a leading cause of disability. The fact is that just about everyone suffers from some form of back pain occasionally.
And, because the human back region is vast and complex, determining the cause and even location of any injury or dysfunction can be a challenge.
What we know at Pain and Performance is that there is often a postural cause for back pain. These postural imbalances can be the result of several unintentional actions or dysfunctions including the following:
- Previous injuries or scar tissue
- Overworked muscles or improper exercise
- Poorly fitted shoes or carrying heavy handbags
- Structural abnormalities or changes from aging
- and chronic stress
Myths We’re Told About Back Pain
Most temporary back pain, while it may limit your activity and even keep you sitting or lying down, it can usually be treated at home with OTC pain relievers, topical ointments and time. On the other hand, sometimes your back pain is specifically the result of an injury or from muscles that have been severely over-worked.
If this is the case, or if your back pain is caused by a disease or some type of physical condition, you may not be able to treat your pain sufficiently at home and may require professional care.
However, for most of us, our back pain will diminish eventually. Yet, there are times when back pain comes and goes but then becomes chronic over time. If this occurs despite your own efforts with self-remedies, you should consider treatment or therapy from a certified and professional therapist.
It is in the course of dealing with back pain that we will encounter several misconceptions, myths, and half-truths. Here is a list of the top ten myths about back pain:
Sitting Up Straight Prevents Back Pain
How you sit can hurt your back, particularly if you have bad posture or don’t have an ergonomic chair. In addition, it can cause spinal disc compression and can lead to premature degeneration and chronic pain. However, sitting up too straight and for too long can also be a strain on your back, triggering pain.
Bed Rest Is Best for Back Pain
Studies have shown that bed rest of more than a day or two can actually make back pain worse. In most cases, managing back pain with movements such as stretching, or walking can help keep muscles loosened and allow sufferers to deal with the pain better than by only resting.
Exercise Will Worsen Back Pain
Regular exercise helps prevent back pain and doctors may recommend exercise for lower back pain. Starting with gentle motions, patients typically increase intensity over time. In addition to treatment, an ongoing exercise plan can help prevent future back pain.
Being Overweight Causes Back Pain
While being overweight does put undue stress on your back, the fact is that everyone is prone to back pain regardless of their weight. Losing excess weight is good but note that back pain is most common among people who are simply out of shape and tend to exert themselves periodically.
Don’t Lift Heavy Things
It’s not just how much you lift, but how you do it. WebMD suggests this technique: “Get directly in front of the object. Squat close to it, with your back straight and head up. Stand, using your legs to push up the load and your arms to hold it close to your middle.” And don’t twist or bend your body!
Chronic Pain Requires Surgery
Everydayhealth.com points out that, “Most back pain, even chronic pain, is not treated with surgery. Only in the most serious cases of back pain, when other pain management treatments have not worked, should surgery be considered.”
Chiropractors Are Needed for Back Pain
Studies show that between 96 to 99 percent of back pain diminishes in a few days. This means that seeing a chiropractor for back pain is almost never needed. While chiropractic manipulation may provide some relief, it should be sought only after trying home care methods for at least a few days.
Severe Back Pain Requires Narcotics
According to WebMD, “Risky opioids are no better at controlling chronic back or arthritis pain than non-opioid drugs, including Tylenol or Motrin, new research finds.” In fact, anti-inflammatory pain medications and muscle relaxants are all most people need for managing back pain.
Acupuncture for Back Pain not Recommended by Doctors
On the contrary, acupuncture has been shown to be better for chronic pain and back pain than narcotics. In fact, The American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians both recommend acupuncture for doctors to consider as a treatment for chronic back pain.
Pain & Performance Solutions Can Help
When you join us at Pain and Performance Solutions, we will use everything we’ve learned and all advancements in our field to help determine where your ailment is rooted. Whether it’s a foot analysis using both digital and analog technology, or video analysis to assess your gait and track your anatomy in motion, or postural, structural and biomechanical assessments or soft tissue evaluation.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment is best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery.