5 Myths About Back Pain


A leading surgeon has recently debunked 5 common myths related to back pain on CBS. Dr. Jennifer Sohal an orthopedic surgeon of St. Vincent Spine Institute puts to rest some of the common misconceptions about back pain, and the causes of it.


She discussed the fact that people that sit down for long periods may be more susceptible than labourers, and that bed rest may in fact make your back pain worse.


Here are 5 myths about back pain debunked from the recent interview:



5 Myths About Back Pain


myths about back pain

There is a lot of misinformation on back pain and the real causes of it

Myth: Physical laborers are at high risk for back pain.


Fact: Actually, those who lead a sedentary life-style may be at equal risk. Truck drivers, office workers and others who sit for long periods of time may put stress on their backs. You can reduce the risk of injury by using a proper chair with back support, raising your feet slightly with a stool or phone book, and taking frequent stretch breaks. Sometimes high stress levels, job dissatisfaction and a lack of proper stretching before sports activity may also contribute to back pain.


Myth: Back pain is the result of injury to the spine.


Fact: There are many causes of back pain. Commonly, back pain results from the natural aging process of the discs, typically as we age. This is often genetically determined, like so many other medical conditions. Sudden twisting, bending, lifting or trauma can injure a disc’s surrounding muscles even in the young population. Aggravating the problem can be poor posture, stress, improper shoes, smoking and inappropriate work habits.


Myth: Long bed rest is the best treatment for back and spine pain.


Fact: Not true. Too much rest may stiffen and weaken muscles and joints and worsen the pain. It’s better to get active, take a hot shower or use a heating pad and initiate a gentle program of exercise to strengthen the back. Sometimes back pain can last for up to four to six weeks. Most of the time, it will diminish on its own accord if you exercise and use moderation. Mild medications and physical therapy may help. It’s best to consult a spinal specialist to help you determine what is causing your back pain and to help supervise your recovery progress.


Myth: Back pain means eventual surgery.


Fact: Not usually. For most of us, back pain is typically the result of a muscle strain, relieved by a few days of rest and perhaps some mild anti-inflammatory medication and exercises. Herniated or bulging discs can press against nerves, causing pain, often felt down the leg (called sciatica). Surgery is most often indicated when diagnostic tests reveal the center of the disc, a gel-like substance, has ruptured. Often, physical therapy may help. When pain is not relieved by those measures, then surgery may be indicated. For those with chronic back pain, it could mean arthritis, perhaps caused by wear and tear. An exercise program that emphasizes flexibility can help strengthen the back muscles.


Myth: Back surgery is dangerous.


Fact: Assuming tests revealed no abnormalities, surgery is only indicated when other conservative treatments, such as rest, medication and physical therapy, have been given ample time to work and the pain still persists or spreads, in most back surgeries, the spinal cord is not involved. And with new highly accurate imaging systems (CAT and MRI scans) and new microsurgical and minimally invasive techniques, we have a highly accurate picture and precise methods of surgery, which may speed recovery.


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So there you go – things aren’t always as they seem – especially relating to back pain. These 5 myths about back pain are very interesting as they are the opposite of what most laymen would believe.


With regard to surgery, with the new technology available success rates are increasing, so that may make some back pain sufferers not fear back surgery as much as they may have in the past.


Here is an informative video from Jesse Cannone from The Healthy Back Instiutute on some of the main causes of lower back pain.





Get more information from Jesse in his book about helping you get rid of back pain. It has hundreds of up to the minute tips on how to alleviate your lower back pain, and is available for FREE on our website by signing up below.




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