Health Literacy

Top 3 Back Pain Misconceptions

Back Pain Misconceptions

When it comes to health, few issues are as universally experienced as lower back pain. This condition can affect anyone, at any time, for a wide range of reasons.

The statistics concerning lower back pain paint a rather grim picture. These figures make it clear just how significant a problem back pain is for nearly every segment of society. It leads to thousands of hours of lost productivity for businesses and unnecessary suffering for individuals. One might assume it’s a subject that is well understood.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. While we may all acknowledge the existence of back pain, we often hold misguided beliefs about how it should be managed. Here are three misconceptions that most people tend to have about back pain…

Misconception #1: Bed Rest Is The Best Treatment For Back Pain

Treating back pain with prolonged periods of rest is a common portrayal in TV shows and movies, and it’s likely something you’ve heard in real life as well. In fact, some doctors advise patients to rest until the situation improves, so it’s not hard to see where this misunderstanding arises.

In reality, experiencing back pain doesn’t necessarily mean you should immediately take to your bed until you feel better. The prevailing consensus nowadays is that a sore back would benefit more from gentle exercise, such as swimming, than from an extended period of rest.

Misconception #2: Back Pain Is Caused By Injuries

If you’ve ever watched a workplace health and safety video, you’ve probably heard descriptions of back pain being caused by direct injuries; twisting awkwardly or using improper lifting techniques. These videos, along with general awareness of them, have led many people to believe that there always has to be an accident or fall to cause back pain.

This is not accurate. Back pain can result from repetitive motion, a condition better known as Repetitive Stress Injury, which worsens over time. It can also be caused by seemingly harmless issues like sleeping on the wrong mattress. You don’t need a major injury event to experience back pain.

So, the next time your back is sore, take a look at your sitting posture at work to see if it might be contributing to the issue. Additionally, when you’re shopping for a mattress, make sure to find out which option will offer the best support for your back.

Misconception #3: Back Pain Is Incurable

Back issues are often viewed as a permanent fixture in life; once you’ve experienced a problem, you’re bound to have it again.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. If you properly rehabilitate your back pain with gentle exercise and strengthen your core muscles, there’s no reason you shouldn’t make a full recovery. As long as you don’t aggravate the issue in the future, there’s also no reason for the problem to return.

Once you dispel these common misconceptions about back pain, you can look forward to a happier, healthier, and more productive future.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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