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6 back pain myths, debunked

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Jun 8th, 2016

Back pain is a common condition that affects 85 per cent of people at some point in their lives. Back pain can be overwhelming and the symptoms are easily misunderstood. With this in mind, chiropractor Dr. Stacy Irvine debunks common myths about back pain and shares tips on how to get the proper help that you need.

Myth #1: This pain is so bad and so intense, I should probably head straight to the emergency room

This is where many people with sudden onset low back pain end up. The emergency room should not be a first stop unless you are experiencing a loss of sensation in the saddle area or loss of bowel or bladder control. The best first step is to find a good musculoskeletal expert to help you diagnose the cause of lower back pain.

Myth #2: I should go right back to bed and stay there until my pain goes away

Bed rest will not help alleviate your lower back pain, and in many cases will actually make it worse. Dr. Stacy Irvine says you should keep moving as long as you can tolerate it. A chiropractor can help you identify positions of relief to keep you moving.

Myth #3: I think I can “stretch” this pain away

Dr. Irvine warns against stretching until a thorough assessment has been performed. In some instances, certain stretches and positions can make things worse. A chiropractor can suggest the exercises that will be the most helpful and when to begin doing them to decrease the risk of aggravating the symptoms.

Myth #4: I definitely need a massage

Once again, it’s important to have a thorough assessment and get educated about the true cause of back pain before treating the symptoms. Massages can be helpful in some cases, but aggravating in others. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that can work for every single case of back pain.

Myth #5: I need an X-ray, CT, MRI to figure out why I have back pain

Most of the causes of acute lower back pain will not show up on any of these images. It will be a waste of time and a waste of health care dollars to have these images done. A qualified health care provider is trained to know when extra imaging needs to be performed.

Myth #6: Once my back pain is gone, I no longer need to do my exercises

Once patients are no longer in pain, many stop performing helpful exercises that helped them recover. For the majority of cases, back pain can return as the body’s muscles go back to their de-conditioned state. It is extremely important to make healthy back care and strengthening a priority.

 

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