Backaches are usually very difficult to diagnose and involve a wide variety of treatments that come with benefits and risks. There are many misconceptions and myths about back problems especially when it is one of the most common issues many people face in their lives. The symptoms could vary for every person. It is always best to consult a professional to get yourself diagnosed, rather than searching up on Google your symptoms because there are many myths going around online. Only experts and professionals would have sufficient knowledge to provide an assessment and properly diagnose your condition. We’re here to clear the air about the common myths surrounding back pain with a simplified explanation as to why they are not true.
Myth #1: Resting for a long time helps with backaches
Contrary to popular belief, laying in bed or staying in one position for a long time may make it even worse. When you have too much bed rest or sit in a chair for too long, it will stiffen the joints and weaken the bones. At the most, you should only rest your back for 1 or 2 days and it will be good enough.
Myth #2: Avoid exercise when you have back pain
Studies have shown that exercises such as yoga and light stretching could help relieve back pain. Your back requires some movement in order to be healthy. Through exercise, your joints, muscles and bones will be stronger and thus allowing you to heal faster than having no exercise at all. Other recommended exercises that are good for your back are swimming, walking or programs such as the Back in Action Program by Kimberly Clark, a trained professional that offers back pain relief exercises in the form of an eBook. If you have a trained licensed physical therapist, certain exercises could even help to strengthen your back muscles which support your spine to be able to withstand the stress on your spine while also stabilizing it. A spine-certified physical therapist would also help to provide you with easy exercises that will heal back pain such as a bulged disk.
Myth #3: Being overweight is a primary factor
Yes, being overweight does cause back pain, but there are normal weight or underweight people with back pain too. Most of the time, back pain can happen to anyone at any age. Primary factors that contribute to backaches include poor posture, lack of exercise, injuries, stress, poor sleeping position and smoking. Even though losing weight is healthier in the long run, it is simply not the major factor as to why someone gets back pain.
Myth #4: MRIs, CT scans and X-Rays helps to identify the source of back pain
Back pains are usually not caused by a serious injury or disease, hence, these scans and tests are not that helpful. Most of the time, the muscles or other factors that cause back pain cannot be seen through the tests. Scans such as MRIs that use radio waves and a magnetic field to produce detailed images of tissues or organs in your body only show tears, nerve compressions and herniated disks.
Myth #5: Once you hurt your back, you can never do your favourite activity again
Again, this is not necessarily true. As mentioned in the previous point, staying active and performing your usual activities such as their favourite sport or hobby. It should be safe to return to your normal routine as long as you take some precautions. For example, if you are new to swimming, the possibility of getting injured when you practice 4 to 5 times a week is high. You should start slowly and work your way up by increasing the days as you get better at it. This is because your body is not used to it. Similar to your back, you should build tolerance after a while with different weights. Essentially, the main function of our back is to lift things and to perform everyday tasks. It will be pointless to not use it.
Myth #6: All back pains needs surgery
Only less than 5% of people with chronic back pain require any sort of surgery. Most common back pain including a slipped disc can be cured without the need for surgery unless it is very severe. Back pains can easily be managed by being active with exercise or physiotherapy and identifying the main factors contributing to the pain.