Back Pain Myths

Pain in the back can be caused by many things. A thorough exam is the best way to determine what your exact problems are, as well as help to put together the proper treatment program. Along with a lot of good information out there on back pain, there are also many myths:

1. A mattress will fix my back pain

Some people spend the entire night going from bed to bed looking for the most comfortable bed in the house to help with their back pain. This is what is called Goldilocks syndrome. Depending on your specific condition, one person may need more firmness than others.

2. Exercise is bad for your back, or exercise can cure a back problem

Exercise may help prevent a recurrence of back pain if the patient has episodes of acute pain. Starting with an easy and gentle exercise program is what is important when dealing with chronic back conditions. Always check with your Doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen.

3. My extra weight is the only cause of my back pain

While back pain can be associated with being overweight, it is very often not actually caused by it. The pain in generally caused by a functional problem in the spine (things are not moving correctly), or a disc related problem, most often degenerative disc disease. Both of these conditions generally respond well to conservative care, which is important because as the patient begins to feel better we often see them be able to get back to a more active lifestyle. This helps them lose weight, which will encourage a drop in exacerbations.

4. Once you have had surgery for back pain, you will never have more back problems

Many people with back pain, although they do not necessarily want surgery, feel it is their only choice for a permanent fix to their problem. The real problem is that often times this is just the beginning of the pain because spinal fusions tend to accelerate disc degeneration in the vertebrae level about and below the fusion. This will eventually create the same type of problems they originally had, but in new areas, also requiring surgery. It can be an endless cycle of pain, and loss of a normal life. Along with that, the scar tissue caused by surgery can cause pain. Weakened discs surrounding the area of surgery can also rupture due to speeded degeneration.

5. I haven not had an injury to my back, so my back pain in nothing serious

Back pain can occur without any history of injury at all. There are many cases where are a result of certain types of movement, or years of “wear and tear”, the discs simply wear out. This begins a long cycle of pain, medications, injections, and pain management that may never fix the problem, all with never having had an injury at all. Once degeneration has set in, something as simple as picking up a piece of paper or flipping on a light switch, can trigger severe pain.

6. If I lift properly I can lift any amount of weight

Even if you are careful and lift just like the poster in the lunchroom tells you, each time you life you run the risk of injury. Very much like a car that breaks down on the way to the store, it can happen to your body in much the same way.

7. If I take pain medication it will heal my pain

When taking medication for the pain, it is meant to mask the pain. The problem is still there, you just don’t feel it. This also holds true with anti-inflammatories. Although they provide comfort, the problem still exists and actually continues to grow worse which will make it more painful in the long run. This will lead to more medications, physical therapy, and eventually surgery. It is important to find the cause of the pain so you can also find potential ways to fix the problem.

Leave a Reply