Myths About Back Pain

There are many sources of confusion about lower back pain – there’s always something in the news about a breakthrough that’s revolutionizing back pain management. Unfortunately, the solutions for healing the spine are usually not straightforward. While some people find pain relief quickly, most people find it’s a long and winding road to getting an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.  Not only the physical aspect of healing, but examining all aspects of your life, ensuring proper nutrition, and engaging in physical activity.

Myth: Back Pain is caused by arthritis or osteoarthritis
Reality:  Although these conditions are described as degenerative conditions of the spine, it occurs in everyone with aging and is verified by x-rays.  Changes occur from a process of wearing and repairing, but that does not necessarily mean that wearing causes back pain.  X-ray changes can be seen in individuals with and without pain.

Myth: I Must Be Very Careful to Protect My Back to Avoid Further Pain
Reality: Many people with back pain actually overprotect their backs, however, and are more prone to injury and pain due to lack of conditioning. A healthy spine needs a regular regimen of stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning exercises. An overall sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise leads to lack of strength and flexibility and generally does more harm than good. Unless your doctor tells you differently, protecting your back includes proper posture, body mechanics and appropriate physical therapy instruction to ensure correct exercise.

Myth:   No Pain, No Gain?
Reality: Severe, chronic back pain is debilitating and needs to be managed. If pain is interfering with your ability to complete your daily activities, it is advisable to seek help right away and don’t let the pain grow worse. Untreated pain interferes with the healing process, affects the immune system and increases the risk of psychological distress.

Brian M Piekarski, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Strength and Conditioning Specialist

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