There are many myths about back pain, however, here are some of the most common ones that you should know!
Myth #1: Lifting heavy objects is the main cause of back pain.
Truth: Firstly, lifting heavy objects is typically never the cause of back pain, but rather, lifting heavy objects incorrectly. Then, while lifting incorrectly is the cause in some cases of back pain, it is certainly not the sole cause. By only focusing on the most common causes, providers may miss a fairly significant portion of cases. Never assume that back pain is occurring because you “must have lifted something incorrectly”.
Myth #2: Bed rest will make all back pain better.
Truth: Typically not. In fact, for most types of back pain, bed rest can lead to the tightening of muscles or worsening pain. This myth tends to go hand in hand with the idea that individuals experiencing back pain should avoid exercise until the pain is resolved. However, in most cases, gentle exercise and physical therapy are actually recommended for managing back pain and preventing future flare ups. Core strengthening exercises and increasing flexibility are two of the more common recommendations that doctors make for treating back pain (1).
Myth #3: Back pain is always due to a serious, underlying condition.
Truth: While this happens in some cases, most back pain will typically resolve on its own with some help of gentle exercises and pain medication. It’s only when an individual is genetically predisposed to a certain condition or when back pain does not resolve itself or results in a major red flag symptom, that an underlying condition is likely.
Myth #4: Poor posture doesn’t contribute to back pain.
Truth: Poor posture certainly can contribute to back pain, however something to remember is that while slouching is bad for you, sitting up too straight for extended periods of time can also strain your back. Be mindful of your posture, but remember, too much of a good thing can also cause issues of its own (2).
Myth #5: Surgery is the only solution for back pain.
Truth: Surgery may be necessary if the pain causes one or more major red flag symptoms. However, a majority of the time, back pain can and should be managed with less invasive treatments prior to considering any surgery.
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