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Back Pain Mythbusters

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BACK PAIN MYTHBUSTERS

There are many common misconceptions about back pain, which can be detrimental to a patient’s recovery. Many people will not manage lower back pain well because they have been given the wrong advice and all these myths have been created regarding their pain.

We have decided to BUST those MYTHS and provide you with the latest published evidence.

  1. Exercise can be harmful for your back

There is no evidence to prove that exercise can hurt your back. Even if you have injured your back if you receive the right guidance from a health expert you will manage to increase the strength of the muscles that support the spine and this in turn will help your spine to be able to withstand more loads and stress without getting injured. DO not be afraid to move, twist, bend and lift. Our back is designed to do all these movements and if you are injured this will help you recover faster.

  1. A scan will show the reason for your pain

There have been many cases where the results of a scan were misleading and totally unrelated to the reason of your pain. A scan will not show muscle weakness or imbalances to the body. In many cases, it will show normal wears and tears that happen in to our body as we age. We cannot stop having wrinkles or white hair as we grow up, do we? It is the same with some disc bulges and generally disc degenerations that we may see in our scan, which will be found in most of the adult population with no back pain.

  1. The best thing for a sore back is bed rest

We all remember in the past when somebody had lower back pain, it would be suggested bed rest for 5-10 days. Well, we all know now that bed rest is probably the worst thing that someone with lower back pain can do. Research is proving that gentle exercise, walking, swimming and gentle stretches are going to help you get rid of your back pain a lot faster.

  1. If you had a bad back once you will live with it forever

Back pain is common, and YES we may have some pain, or that odd twinge every now and then if we overdo it with specific activities. This is absolutely normal and it does not mean that something wrong is happening with your back. Good back pain management will help you fully recover and keep your back healthy. Just remember to keep active, do not slouch a lot, control your weight and stop smoking.

  1. If you have a bulging or herniated disc you will need surgery

As explained before a bulging disc can be a normal part of ageing and it may not create any symptoms. Disc herniation may create some more symptoms if a nerve compression occurs. This can be treated with physiotherapy and exercise prescription and the symptoms will be minimised after an amount of sessions. A surgery will be performed if we have some RED FLAGS. Red flags are signs of danger and some indication could be cauda equina symptoms, fracture, possible malignancy etc. Do not worry about them they are very rare and when you see a health expert he will immediately know if that is the case.

Written by Maria Gkini

MSc MCSP – Musculosketal Chartered Physiotherapist

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