Updated: Jan 3
Four out of every five adults will experience at least one episode of back pain in their lives. These episodes can be mild or severe, and can be short-lived or become chronic. Despite how common it is, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding back pain. In this article, some of the most common myths about back pain will be debunked to help you better understand your condition and find the right treatment.
Myth #1: When you are experiencing an episode of back pain, you should rest as much as possible.
Wrong! Often when you are experiencing back pain, there is the assumption that there are tissues that have been damaged and that rest is necessary to allow for healing. However, not all back pain is due to damage to the structures, and therefore your pain can actually worsen with too much rest due to stiffening of joints and weakening of muscles. In general, you should listen to your body, but try to incorporate light activity that can be done without worsening the pain, such as going for a walk or light stretching.
Myth #2: You need to see a doctor or undergo surgery if you want to get rid of your back pain.
Not necessarily! In most cases, back pain will go away independently with home treatment. If your back pain is severe or chronic, you may need to see a doctor for further evaluation and treatment.
Myth #3: Wearing a back brace is the best way to treat back pain.
Not necessarily! While a back brace can provide temporary relief from pain, it is more of a “Bandaid” fix than a permanent solution. In some cases, wearing a back brace can make your back pain worse by weakening your muscles and causing them to become dependent on the brace for support.
Myth #4: You can prevent back pain by doing special exercises.
There is no surefire way to prevent back pain, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. Try to achieve 30 minutes of light-to-moderate physical activity per day, incorporate stretches and strengthening exercises into your weekly routine, and avoid strenuous activity for which your body is unprepared. Don’t let your back pain go untreated by ignoring it and seek medical help if your symptoms are worsening.
Myth #5: Back pain is just part of getting older.
Not necessarily! While back pain is more common as we age, it's not an inevitable part of aging. You can do many things to reduce your likelihood of getting back pain, even as you get older.
Myth #6: Doing squats/deadlifts/sitting at my desk/backbends is bad for my back.
Wrong! Specific movements or activities aren’t good or bad on their own. The way you do an activity and whether you are properly prepared are important factors for how your body will react to the movement. Just because a movement has caused you pain (or caused your mother/brother/uncle/friend’s cousin pain) in the past, does not mean that it will surely do so again. It is good for your back to move in all directions and be properly challenged to promote healthy joints and muscles. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, consult with a physiotherapist to help you safely return to your former activity without flaring up your pain again, or incorporate new activities without the risk of injury.
If you're suffering from back pain, don't believe everything you hear! There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about back pain out there. In this blog post, we debunked some of the most common ones. Remember, if your back pain is severe or chronic, you should see a doctor for further evaluation and treatment. Otherwise, try to stay active and avoid bed rest as much as possible.
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