When it comes to medical advice, the Internet is full of it. However, you have to be able to sift through what is accurate and what is just someone passing along something they heard and never checked out. Here are some of the biggest back pain misconceptions so that you are not fooled. Toward the end of our article, look for a way to get your life back from the pain by natural means.
Misconception 1 – You’re Going to Need Surgery
This should be the last resort when you have back pain. And even then, elective surgeries leave many patients feeling no better after a long recovery period. Then you also have the risk of opioid addiction since these drugs are provided to patients after surgery.
Misconception 2 – Just Use a Back Belt When Lifting and You’ll Be Fine
There is just about zero research that has been done to prove that these weightlifting belts do anything. So whether you are hitting the gym hard or do a lot of lifting for work, don’t overextend yourself thinking the belt will save you. If something says team lift, get help.
Misconception 3 – A Hot Bath Is Good for an Injured Back
When you first hurt yourself, one of the biggest causes of pain is inflammation. Unfortunately, during this time, many people mistakenly turn to heat for relief. While you may feel a little better during the hot bath, the problem is that the heat draws more blood to the injured area. More blood means more inflammation because it is blood leaking into the soft tissue that induces swelling. The fact is that you should always use cold to counteract swelling. A few days later, when the inflammation has gone down, you can use heat to promote healing.
Misconception 4 – All You Need to Do Is Stretch to Work Out Back Pain
Don’t mistake this for an attack on stretching. Stretching is great exercise, and it is usually good when you have back pain. The problem is that if you do not know the extent of the injury, stretching could make matters worse. If you have experienced trauma that led to the pain, be sure to consult a doctor before starting a new exercise program, even one that only involves stretching.
Misconception 5 – Back Pain Can Come Out of Nowhere
This can seem true, but unless you just suffered an injury (in which case you know exactly where the pain came from) back pain rarely appears suddenly. The fact is that by the time you feel pain in your back, some sort of underlying injury has been working under the surface for a long time. Perhaps it is a misalignment that has left the back in a stressed position. Maybe it is the gradual wear of one of the discs between the vertebrae. Whatever the case, pain usually means there was a longstanding issue unless you literally just got hurt.
Misconception 6 – Bed Rest and NSAIDs Are the Best Back Pain Treatments
These are the back pain treatment options that most physicians will offer to patients at first. There are a few problems with this approach. Not only are there ways to get relief from inflammation without NSAIDs, but natural care also offers fewer side effects in most cases. NSAIDs, when taken over a long period of time, can lead to everything from intestinal issues to chronic headaches.
Then there are the issues with bed rest. The primary problem is that while you are sedentary, the joints and muscles stiffen up and increase pain. It can take longer to recover and leave you in rough physical condition by the time the bed rest is over. A gradual return to normal activity is the preferred option, leading to a faster recovery.
Misconception 7 – Back Pain Always Starts in the Back
While it is true that your back pain may be the result of a back injury, there are also a number of other possibilities. One that few medical practitioners think of is that back pain can begin in the neck with an upper cervical misalignment. How can a problem in the neck affect the rest of the back?
The top bone in the neck, the atlas, balances the head. If the proper alignment is thrown off, even by a tiny margin, the rest of the spine changes to compensate. One shoulder may gradually pull up higher than the other. Next, one hip becomes lower and one leg is shorter. Where the greatest changes take place, the pain is most likely to occur. You can even end up with sciatica if some of the changes in the lower back irritate the sciatic nerve which stems out from the lumbar spine and branches down both legs. These changes take place so gradually that the source of your neck misalignment may be years in the past. How can you find long-term relief?
Natural Back Pain Relief
If your underlying issue is the neck, the only way to find long-term relief is to go to the source of the problem. Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in detecting and gently correcting this specific type of misalignment. Once the atlas is back in place, the rest of the spine and the surrounding soft tissue can return to its normal position. This may relieve pressure from nerves and other issues that result in pain and inflammation.
If you suffer from back pain, contact an upper cervical chiropractor today. You may be amazed to learn that your back pain is actually caused by a misalignment in your neck and that a safe and gentle adjustment is all that is needed to start you on the road to recovery.