Back pain can be a very common problem in today’s society and most people will experience some form of it throughout their lives. There are many myths about back pain and how to manage it therefore we’re here to help you debunk some of these misconceptions and give you the essential facts.
Myth – My back is weak or fragile and is easily injured
Truth – The spine is a strong structure and the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments help to provide the body with stability and movement whilst also allowing for flexibility. It is important to keep the back conditioned and this can be achieved through various ways such as, a light strengthening and stretching programme and with aerobic exercise.
Myth – Moving my back will make the pain worse.
Truth – Initially, you may have pain on certain movements and this can make you feel fearful to bend or twist your back. It’s essential that, as the pain settles, you start getting back to regular movements. You should gradually build up these movements in a pain free range, increasing how much you are doing everyday.
Myth – I shouldn’t bend my back or lift anything to avoid back pain
Truth – Bending and lifting are activities that are portrayed as causes of back pain but injuries usually occur if something is lifted in a compromised or awkward position that is too heavy. This normally leads to a sprain or strain. It is essential that when bending or lifting, proper technique is used and the load is of a comfortable weight and carried efficiently. Building up the weight so that you can carry different loads will help to avoid further injury.
Myth – Pain = Damage
Truth – Pain is a very complex matter and many things can contribute to your pain. Some of these include physical, psychological, social and lifestyle/general health factors. While an acute physical pain can correspond to some level of damage, our back pain can sometimes be longer lasting and down to other factors with no damage occurring in the back at all. It’s crucial to appreciate that pain is multifactorial and understanding what triggers your pain will help you to manage and reduce your pain.
Myth – I need a scan and investigations to find out what’s causing my back pain.
Truth – Scans can be a really useful way of diagnosing underlying pathologies if you have serious back pain and specific symptoms but this only applies to a small number of the population. Most people with back pain do not need any scans or further investigations and a medical professional or physiotherapist can help to guide this. Scans can highlight normal changes to the spine but this can be misinterpreted causing people to be become fearful and avoid activities or movements that will actually help to alleviate back pain.
Myth – If I have back pain I should rest and avoid activity
Truth – Initially, an acute episode of back pain may require you to rest for a few days to let aggravated symptoms settle however it is vital that you gradually get back to your normal activities. By continuing to work and resume exercise that is pain-free, this will help aid in your recovery and settle your pain down quicker. Exercise has been shown to assist in reducing pain and can ultimately prevent future episodes of back pain.
Remember, it can be a completely normal part of life to have a bout of brief back pain but if you are unsure about your back pain or symptoms then make sure you go see a medical professional/physiotherapist who can help guide your treatment. So its now up to you guys to start moving forward with your pain and not looking back!
Information has been sourced from the CSP website www.csp.org.uk/publications/10-things-you-need-know-about-your-back