Back pain is one of the most common body aches that we experience nowadays. Having back problems can be very disruptive to your life as it can keep you up at night and is very difficult to diagnose. It often involves a wide variety of tests and treatments that come with numerous risks.
With the majority of people owning a smartphone, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the information and believe myths and misconceptions about back pain. We will review the most common myths about back problems, their diagnoses & causes and how to treat them. Here are ten myths on relieving back pain.
Sit up straight
Even though slouching and bad posture is significantly worse for you, just sitting up straight isn’t the answer either. Sitting up too straight and too still for a long period of time can cause strain on your back as well. Instead, try to take plenty of breaks during your stationary period by, for example: walking around while you are reading or calling someone. Another option is to lean back in your chair every hour to get some movement.
If hurt, take bed rest
Bed rest is an outdated method of treatment and is no longer recommended when you are dealing with back problems. Back pain often gets worse when muscles tighten up when you get injured and by laying down and not moving those muscle groups, you tighten them more, continuing the chain of pain. If you are experiencing severe back pain, instead consult your doctor or physical therapist to establish a safe strengthening program. A good rule of thumb when it comes to your body is: motion is lotion.
Bend from the knees
For a long time, the proper technique for lifting heavy objects was bending from the knees. Legitimate lifting techniques actually require you to lift from your hips, rather than your knees. Instead try to disperse the weight throughout all the muscles of your body, focusing on engaging your core when you lift something off the ground.
Stretch it out
The spine is designed to provide your body with stability. You may see where we are going with this one, but an above average flexible spine without the proper muscles to support it is more prone to injury. Before you get into stretching or working out, always consult a specialist, since these activities can hurt you rather than help.
Back belts reduce back injuries
Unless prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist for additional support, back belts, often used by weight lifters or airport employees, don’t reduce back injuries. In turn, they might cause harm as they provide a false sense of security. If you feel like your back needs additional support in order to lift something heavy or perform mundane tasks, visit your doctor immediately as this may be an indication of a bigger problem.
Back pain equals back damage
Overall we have been taught that the amount of pain we feel corresponds directly with the amount of body damage. More pain equals more damage. However, when we are talking about chronic back pain, this is not true. Severe spinal or disc damage can present itself as annoying back pain, leading you to take more pain medication rather than seeking prompt treatment.
It’s in my family
Although knowing one’s family health history can help in many cases, back pain is not one of them. For the majority of back pain related conditions, your genes have nothing to do with them. Don’t suffer from back pain just because your father had it too.
Abnormalities are OK
Nobody is perfect and no body is perfect. If you don’t respond to treatment, your doctor may choose to do a MRI or CT scan to help find the source of your back pain, and it might show abnormalities in your spine. However, these abnormalities don’t have to be the cause of your back pain or any other symptoms you are experiencing. In fact, there are many people who have never had any back problems, who will have spine abnormalities.
Get a firm mattress
If you have ever thought that your comfortable and downy mattress is the cause of your back pain, you are not alone. Advertisements on the television and radio often state that you need a firmer mattress to support your back. Along with the increased sensitivity to pain that comes with sleeping poorly, it is easy to believe this myth. If you are searching for a better mattress that will actually alleviate some back pain, consider adjustable firmness or medium firmness mattresses.
Back pain comes with age
Many people assume that with age comes an aching body. What most people don’t know is that back pain is most common from your late 30s through your early 50s. It is important to understand that the natural aging of your back and spine doesn’t automatically lead to pain.
There is a lot of information on the Internet regarding back pain and spinal health, and not all of it is true. Your spine is resilient and strong and is made to give your body stability, but wrong instructions might hurt your spine rather than helping. If you are suffering from chronic back pain (longer than 6 weeks), consult a professional and start taking steps towards a healthier spine and a healthier life.