Lower back pain is one of the most common problems a person can face, but that doesn’t make it easy to deal with, and it doesn’t mean that it is a well-understood health problem. We’re going to debunk some of the worst myths about lower back pain so that you can find the safe and natural care that you need in order to keep back pain from becoming chronic or disabling.
Myth 1 – Lower Back Pain Can Come Out of Nowhere
Acute lower back pain is usually the result of an injury. If you felt your back pull while lifting something, the pain may come on suddenly, but you know the reason. At other times, back pain may seem to begin mysteriously, but there is still always an underlying reason. Poor posture, lifting the wrong way, wear and tear on the discs between the vertebrae, and small misalignments that lead to other spinal changes can all be responsible for lower back pain. However, by the time you are feeling pain, the problem has likely been working under the surface for months if not years. So when someone says, “My back went out,” the reasons is most likely an old injury, repetitive movements, or poor habits when it comes to posture.
Myth 2 – All You Need Is Bed Rest to Fix Your Lower Back Pain
There are some injuries that require rest. However, when you are recovering from an injury, researchers have discovered that a gradual return to activities results in a faster return to work. Whereas patients who are on strict bed rest end up with a longer recovery time by nearly an entire month. While you may not be able to hit the gym a few days after an injury, returning to normal activities in increments will keep the bones, muscles, and ligaments strong and flexible. It can also help to prevent weight gain that could also slow your recovery.
Myth 3 – It’s Okay to Take NSAIDs Daily
On a short-term basis, perhaps for a week or two, this is true. Your doctor may even give you a prescription NSAID, which is a much higher dose than what an over-the-counter bottle will say it is safe to take. However, long-term daily use of NSAIDs can have many harmful side effects for your digestive tract and may even lead to medication overuse headaches (also called rebound headaches).
Myth 4 – If Your Back Pain Is Chronic, You Need Surgery
Statistics on major back surgeries vary from study to study. There are several problems with this invasive lower back pain treatment, even if it is deemed necessary rather than elective. First of all, many patients are still on heavy painkillers years after the surgery, and dependency can occur. Second, many patients experience a return of their back pain. Third, these surgeries can limit the range of motion of the spine. Finally, there are long recovery times from this type of surgery. As a result, many people decide that the risks are too great when compared to the success rate of these surgeries.
Myth 5 – All I Need Is a Hot Shower or Bath to Feel Better
When you are dealing with inflammation, the opposite is true. While heat is good for healing, it sends more of the blood cells that cause inflammation to the area. Therefore, when you are dealing with inflammation after an injury, it is always a good idea to use ice for the first 2-3 days before introducing heat. Your doctor can give you instructions on how to use ice effectively, and this may be able to help you reduce the number of anti-inflammatory drugs you need to take.
Myth 6 – Getting a Fitness Ball to Sit on at My Desk Will Fix My Lower Back Pain
It may help, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, poor posture is poor posture, so if you sit on the ball the same hunched way you were sitting on your chair, it won’t make a difference. Second, you need to have a fitness ball that is exactly the right size for your height and leg length. Otherwise, your posture may actually be worse. You may be better off with a chair that has good lower back support and can adjust to the height you require. In fact, the best option is usually to focus on your posture and to get up from your seat regularly to do some stretching throughout the day.
Myth 7 – You Can’t Get Natural Help for Lower Back Pain
Not only can you get natural help for lower back pain but the secret to long-term relief may actually be in your upper neck. How is this possible? When the top two bones in the neck are out of alignment, it throws off the balance of the head. As a result, the body goes into action and shifts the spine and the surrounding soft tissue in order to get the head properly balanced again. As a result, you may see a difference in shoulder heights, hip levels, and even leg lengths. Since the biggest shifts often take place in the lower back, this is where people experience pain.
The best way to find long-term relief is to correct the underlying problem, the upper cervical misalignment that set the changes in motion. This is why you need to see an upper cervical chiropractor, even if your pain is in your lower back. We specialize in precise and gentle corrections of the C1 and C2 vertebrae at the base of the skull. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with a practitioner near you to find out if this is the safe and effective form of care for your chronic lower back pain.