Back pain can be extremely difficult to treat. There are hundreds of common misconceptions about back pain that seem to float around. Oftentimes, it’s hard to perfectly place where the pain is located, which subsequently makes it more difficult to develop a treatment plan. As an estimated eight out of ten people will experience back pain at some point in his/her life, it’s important to be in tune with your body. It’s also helpful to have a basic knowledge of some of the common misconceptions and myths about back pain and its treatment. We’ve outlined nine of those common myths for you below. If you’re experiencing back pain or for more information, be sure to give us a call at the Microsurgery Spine & Pain Institute.
Active People Don’t Have Back Pain
Does Being Active Help Back Pain?
Like we said above, it is estimated that 80% of people will experience some level of back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is among the top five reasons for primary care visits, surgical procedures, and hospitalization in the United States. Of course, in these cases the pain is not always serious and chronic, but it’s clear that it affects a large majority of people and to think that you’ll be lucky enough to avoid could just be wishful thinking.
Spine pain can affect people across the entire spectrum of physical activity. Some sports are even more likely to cause back pain, in fact. It’s very important to pay attention to and spend some time conditioning one’s back.
Spines are Fragile. Spines are Delicate.
The spine is actually an extremely well designed structure. Its various components make it strong, flexible, and supportive of our everyday movements and motions.
Back Pain is Inevitable with Age
While it’s true that with age comes increased susceptibility to various health issues, such as disc degeneration in the spine, this does not mean that back pain is an inevitable part of aging. With all of the modern day treatments available to patients across the U.S., you can go through your day without having to deal with mild or debilitation back pain, no matter what your age.
The more pain you feel, the more damage has been done
When we feel any sort of pain, it’s easy to overestimate the actual damage that’s done. That’s because we cannot, without the help of a doctor, see inside of our bodies; our pain is sensory, and we can’t pinpoint its location or know how bad it actually it is. Normally with acute back issues, the level of pain that you feel does correlate to the actual damage done. However, when it comes to severe pain, thankfully, this is not necessarily always the case.
There is a specific “cure” or treatment for different causes of back pain.
As we mentioned earlier, back pain can be difficult to treat for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately because of this, treatments for back pain are rarely standardized. Diagnoses can vary from specialist to specialist because the causes are not always straightforward.
You Need Surgery for Chronic Back Pain
Sometimes it just feels like the pain is never going to go away. Long lasting pain calls for the most drastic treatment, right? Wrong. Surgery is actually only recommended in about 1% of all cases, and in those cases the causes and diagnoses are extremely specific. Sometimes it just takes time and various treatments to find the proper treatment for each individual case.
Massage treatment is always a good idea.
While a massage may temporarily ease pain, it does not mean that it’s the best treatment option for your specific case. Without a good assessment of the reason or cause for the pain, a massage could accidentally cause more damage, inhibiting the way that the body protects itself.
Heat application feels good, so it must be helping.
As with massages, just because pain is eased by heat does not mean that heat is a good treatment for specific back pain cases. For example, in cases of inflammation, heat can actually make an acute injury worse. In those cases, it’s better to apply something cold, like ice. While heat and massage may help to manage pain during treatment, they are not long-term solutions to the source problem.
Bed rest is the best.
In some cases, temporary bed rest (around 1 to 2 days) is recommended in order to reduce the pressure placed on problem areas in the spine. However, any longer than this, whether the pain is gone or not, can lead to other negative problems and more pain. For example, in inactivity can cause your body to atrophy or weaken. Along with extra physical pain, bed rest can cause negative mental states and health, including a sense of helplessness or a mindset of being ill.