Low back pain is one of the most common reasons individuals visit clinics and approximately 84% of the general population will experience it at some point. Educating individuals on low back pain has been seen to be a very effective way of addressing the issues, as current beliefs and attitudes of people, towards low back pain can greatly influence their management and prognosis. This article is here to help address some of the most common myths surrounding the topic.
“I’ve got back pain, so I need to rest “
We hear this too many times in clinic and on most occasions, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When patients come into the clinic complaining of back pain, my best advice to them, is to continue with their normal daily activities, as much as possible. If it is not aggravating the pain, then it is fine and should be continued. It is well researched that returning to movement as soon as possible, has a positive effect on pain and quality of life, when compared to bed rest.
Therefore, it is important to keep active – carry out activities such as walking, stretching and swimming, which will help maintain mobility and aid the recovery process
“I need to get a scan to find out the cause of my pain”
So often we hear patients requesting a scan of their back, to find out exactly what is going on. However, a lot of evidence suggest that findings on scan do not always correlate with the intensity of pain being experienced. Individuals may have similar scan findings to others, however experience very different symptoms and levels of pain! Some may not experience any pain at all with quite aggressive scan findings..
Don’t get me wrong, in some situations, a scan may be extremely helpful at figuring out what is going on, but on many occasions, this is not always the case and may even make the situation worse for patient, from a psychological point of view. Seeing ‘damage’ or ‘abnormalities’ on a scan can create a more negative attitude to the injury. When a scan identifies certain issues and the individual is made aware of this, it may exacerbate the individuals pain, when in reality those changes identified are a normal process of ageing and present in most individuals, after a certain age.
“Once I’ve had a bad back, I’m always going to have a bad back”
Everyone experiences an episode of back pain at some point in their life and on most occasions recover from that episode. Pain experience is a complex situation and does not always correlate with the amount of tissue damage present. Our back is a lot stronger than most of us think, and designs to transmit and tolerate a significant amount of weight. It is our thoughts and the fear of the pain re occurring, which is one of the main factors limiting our recovery and progress made. Injuries are very rarely permanent, and our body has a natural capability to heal itself and recover from injuries, especially when provided with the correct treatment and rehabilitation program.
“I should avoid exercise, especially weight training”
Experiencing back pain should not stop you from carrying out your usual form of exercise, especially if it involves resistance training. Not only has exercise been seen to be the best approach when treating both acute and chronic low back, but also provided other benefits and prevents future episodes occurring. Avoiding exercise and general movement, may result in loss of functional movement control and de-conditioning of the muscles around your low back, which can aggravate your pain further. Exercise and rehabilitation is vital to ensure optimal strength and function within the back.
If you are suffering from back pain, which is stopping you from carrying out activities which you enjoy, come in and see how we can help you, return to the fully functioning version of you.