When you’re having back pain, the first thing you want to know is how you can get out of pain fast, which usually means you need to know what is causing the pain in the first place. Back pain can interrupt your ability to engage in everyday life activities like work, family and friend time, as well as hobbies you may enjoy. As you seek to understand your back pain, it is important to know there are several common myths regarding back pain. Here are 7 of them:
Myth #1 – Chronic Back Pain Requires Surgery
The average person suffering from back pain does not need surgery. It is more likely that the problem can be corrected by addressing the underlying problem with a few lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. Research shows that invasive back surgeries are not always effective at treating back pain. Many patients continue to suffer afterwards and end up taking opioids years after the procedure.
Myth #2 – Back Pain Happens Suddenly
While it may seem as though back pain happens out of nowhere, it is usually not a surprise event unless inflicted by a sudden accident or injury. Usually, back pain is an outward symptom of an ongoing internal dysfunction that has been happening for some time. One example is when an upper cervical misalignment happens. It can result in the rest of the spine shifting to compensate. This causes accelerated degeneration of the discs, leading to a herniated disc or to two vertebrae rubbing together. Poor posture, weight gain, lifting improperly, and a sedentary lifestyle will slowly lead to injuries, degeneration, or back pain. When your back suddenly “goes out” it is most likely due to your long-term habits, repetitive motions, or perhaps an old injury.
Myth #3 – A Back Belt Will Keep Back Problems Away
There is no scientific evidence that shows that a back belt can help prevent back problems. For weightlifters and anyone who lifts for work, using a back belt is a good idea, but it is not reliable to prevent back pain entirely. In some ways, these devices put their users at more of a risk because they create a false sense of security. The wearer may attempt to exert more force and lift more weight than he or she normally would. It is best to be certain you are lifting properly, and when an item is too heavy for one person, to do a team lift, regardless of whether you are wearing a back belt.
Myth #4 – Resting in Bed Is an Excellent Way to Care for Back Pain
While resting may be the only thing you want to do while in pain, and your doctor may even promote this as a way to care for your back, it is actually not a good idea at all. Based on one study on lower back pain, bed rest could actually lead to a longer recovery time. The study focused on 134 patients with lower back pain, dividing them into two groups. The portion that rested in bed took an average of 87 days to get back to work. The other portion who were designated to return to activities gradually, were able to return to work in just 58 days on average.
Myth #5 – Soaking in Heat Calms Back Inflammation
Cold helps with inflammation but heat will only make it worse, especially early on. It is recommended that you ice any injuries or inflammation for the first 2 to 3 days to help with healing. After that, switching to heat helps increase circulation and helps promote faster healing as the swelling goes down. If you’re still experiencing inflammation after 2 to 3 days, consult your physician before switching to heat.
Myth #6 – Using a Fitness Ball Instead of an Office Chair Will Help
Simply replacing your desk chair with a fitness ball is not exactly a preventative measure against back pain. However, it can be if all the details of your posture are in order. For example, sitting on a ball doesn’t mean you will automatically be activating your core muscles unless you maintain proper posture while sitting on it. Most often, poor posture is the initial reason for back pain in office workers, and simply sitting on a ball won’t change that without some intentional focus on posture improvement. Also, the size of the fitness ball must be appropriate for the size of the person and the height of the desk to support the proper posture necessary to help the spine.
Myth #7 – Stretching Is Always a Good Idea for Back Pain
Normally, stretching is a great way to cope with back pain – but this is not a steadfast rule. Some underlying reasons for back pain can worsen from stretching, which is why it is recommended to always consult a physician if you plan to begin a new exercise program, even when it is only a stretching class.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Provides Natural Back Pain Relief
One way to find back pain relief is to visit an upper cervical chiropractor. Why would a chiropractor who specializes on the top two vertebrae of the spine be able to help with problems in the lower and middle back?
The upper cervical spine is responsible for balancing the head. Even a minor misalignment at the top of the spine can result in drastic compensations throughout the back. Bones and soft tissue shift to accommodate the changes, leading to degeneration and eventually, pain. So when there is pain in the lower or middle back pain, the upper cervical spine should always be checked for misalignments.
Upper cervical chiropractors use a gentle, precise approach that does not require popping or cracking the spine like a general chiropractor. The way upper cervical treatments work is by taking accurate measurements so that we can administer low-force corrections tailored to each patient’s specific misalignment. While these adjustments are not forceful, they are long-lasting, giving the spine more time to restore its correct position. For many patients, this treatment results in a reduction or resolution of back pain. To learn more, contact an upper cervical chiropractor near you.