If you are suffering from back pain, you probably want to find out what is wrong and stop the pain as soon as possible. After all, chronic back pain can affect work, social life, and overall quality of life. In fact, lower back pain is the number one cause of disability in the world. However, you want to be sure that in your quest for knowledge that you haven’t been fed some misinformation. Here are 7 back pain myths.
Myth #1 Chronic Back Pain Requires Surgery
Most patients who are suffering from back pain do not need surgery. It is far more common to be able to correct the underlying problem through lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. Research indicates that invasive back surgeries are not the best way to treat pain and that many patients still suffer from back pain and are taking opioids years after the procedure.
Myth #2 – Back Pain Can Occur Out of the Blue
While back pain may seem to come from nowhere, it is rarely a sudden event unless an accident or injury occurs. Back pain is usually the outward symptom of internal problems that have been going on for a long time. For example, if an upper cervical misalignment has occurred, this can cause the spine to shift to compensate. As a result, faster degeneration of the discs may occur, causing a herniated disc or two vertebrae to rub. Poor posture, weight gain, not lifting properly, and a sedentary lifestyle can all gradually lead to injuries, degeneration, or back pain. So if your back suddenly “goes out” it is probably because of long standing habits, repetitive motion, or maybe even an old injury.
Myth #3 – A Back Belt Will Help Prevent Back Problems
There’s really no scientific evidence to support this. Many weightlifters or those who lift for work use back belts, but you shouldn’t rely on such a device alone to keep you from back problems. By providing a sense of security where one may not really exist, back belts may actually increase risk of injury in those who are counting on the extra support that may or may not be there. Always be sure to lift properly and team lift if the item is too heavy for one person, regardless of whether you choose to use a back belt.
Myth #4 – Bed Rest Is the Best Way to Care for Back Pain
Not only is this often promoted by physicians, but it is often more convenient for a person who is in pain. As a result, the idea of bed rest to promote healing is rarely questioned. However, according to one study on lower back pain, bed rest may actually lead to longer recovery times. In the study, 134 patients with lower back pain were divided into two groups. The half who were on bed rest took an average of 87 days to get back to work. The half who were assigned to return to activities on a gradual basis were able to return to work in just 58 days on average.
Myth #5 – A Hot Bath Can Help with Back Inflammation
Cold helps inflammation. Heat can actually make it worse early on. When it comes to injuries and inflammation, a good rule to follow is to use ice for the first 2 to 3 days to reduce the inflammation. Then you can switch over to heat which increases circulation and may help to promote faster healing once the swelling has gone down. If the inflammation still exists after 2 to 3 days, don’t switch over to heat without consulting a physician first.
Myth #6 – Switching Out Your Office Chair for a Fitness Ball Will Help
It could, but there are more factors involved. First of all, sitting on a ball instead of a chair doesn’t automatically activate your core. You have to sit properly and focus on maintaining proper posture. Since failure to maintain good posture is often the initial cause of back pain for office workers, this is unlikely to change simply because you are sitting on a ball. Plus, if the fitness ball is too big or too small, this can also affect the spine.
Myth #7 – Stretching Is Always Good for Back Pain
Stretching is usually one of the best ways to cope with back pain – but not always. The fact is that certain underlying causes of back pain could be made worse by stretching. This is why you are encouraged to always consult with a physician before starting a new exercise program, even if you only intend to stretch.
Natural Back Pain Relief Through Upper Cervical Chiropractic
One way to seek back pain relief is to see an upper cervical chiropractor. How can a chiropractor who focuses on the top two bones of the spine help with lower and middle back problems?
Because the upper cervical spine balances the head, even a slight misalignment will lead to changes throughout the back. As bones and soft tissue shift to compensate, degeneration can occur, and pain may be the end result. Thus, anytime lower or middle back pain exists, the upper cervical spine should be checked for misalignments.
Upper cervical chiropractors do not pop or twist the spine like a general chiropractor. Instead, precise measurements are taken to offer low-force corrections tailored to each patient’s specific misalignment. These adjustments are gentle and long-lasting, which gives the body time to heal and the spine the opportunity to return to a normal position. For many, this has led to a reduction in or resolution of back pain. To learn more, contact a practitioner near you.