6 Back Pain Myths – BUSTED!
Let’s get the facts straight about back pain!
Despite billions being spent, and millions of patients being prescribed opiates or surgery every year, back pain remains the world’s leading cause of disability. However, much of what people think is common knowledge about back pain may actually be making things worse.
Misinformation about back problems abounds. How many times have you heard that you shouldn’t exercise if you’ve got a bad back? Or that if you have a bulging disc, you’re sure to eventually wind up in surgery?
If you have back pain, it’s important to get the facts straight from the experts. So let’s get to it and dispel six of the most common myths when it comes to back pain.
Myth: Exercise will hurt your back.
Fact: Anyone who’s ever been to the gym knows that it’s possible to hurt your back — and other parts of your body — if you’re careless, like not using proper form or trying to lift too much weight. But if you’re careful, use good form and go slow, there’s no reason to wind up hurt after a trip to the gym.
Additionally, exercise can actually help your back by strengthening the muscles that support your spine. A strong, well-conditioned back can withstand more stress and stabilize the spine better.
Myth: Herniated disks need to be surgically repaired.
Fact: The intervertebral disks, located between the vertebral bodies of your spine, act to cushion the spine against stress. Disks are pretty tough, but through a combination of spinal or pelvic misalignment and the natural processes of aging, the outside layer of a disk may rupture (or herniate). In more severe cases, the jelly-like center of the disk leaks, irritating the nearby nerves and causing back and leg pain.
But you probably don’t need surgery. In a recent study from JMPT, over 90% of patients with disk herniations reported being better or much better following chiropractic care within the first two weeks of receiving adjustments. Over 55% of patients report significant improvement after just one visit!
While there are a few spine conditions that require surgery, the vast majority of back problems are resolved without surgery.
Myth: If you have bulging disks, you have a major medical problem.
Fact: Bulging disks are way more common than you think – 50% of totally asymptomatic people in their 40’s are walking around with at least one bulged disk. Our disks are like car tires that gradually lose air and wear down. This is why we may become shorter as we age. However, unlike car tires, an aged disk does not have to be replaced.
Regular chiropractic care takes stress off spinal discs by correcting misalignments between vertebra in the spine, eliminating the bulge and minimizing the extra wear and tear that leads to more serious damage.
Myth: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans always show the source of back pain.
Fact: MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. These scans can demonstrate annular tears, herniated disks and nerve compression. MRI scans do not show weak muscles or many other joint disorders that contribute to back pain. As mentioned earlier, MRI also will show the normal, age-related wear and tear that may be misleading as to the source of back pain. This is why a thorough physical exam is the most important source of information about the cause of your back pain.
Myth: The best thing for a sore back is bed rest.
Fact: It seems counterintuitive, but the best thing for your back is gentle exercise. Walking, for example, gets you out of a sitting posture and into a more neutral, upright alignment. Gentle, easy stretching may help as well. At Ascent Chiropractic, every patient gets a personalized strengthening and stretching routine as part of their treatment plan.
Myth: Pinched nerves cause severe back pain.
Fact: That can be true, but only sometimes. For example, what many people call sciatica is simply inflammation of the sacroiliac joint and has nothing to do with the sciatic nerve at all. An easy way to tell the difference? Usually, an irritated or compressed sciatic nerve will cause pain in your your lower leg and foot, while sacroiliac joint pain won’t go past the knee. The good news is that with the proper chiropractic treatment and rehab therapy, both of these types of pains can be corrected permanently.
The Big Picture
If you’re struggling with back pain – even if you’ve already being treated by your primary care physician – don’t skip on chiropractic care. Research says it can drastically improve your results.
In a recent study published in SPINE, over 73% of people who saw a chiropractor in addition to their medical doctor found significant or complete relief from back pain, compared with 17% in the standard-medical-care-only group.
It’s a fact: what we do at Ascent Chiropractic can help you address the cause of the pain, not just mask the symptoms.
Looking for a Brookfield chiropractor? We’d love to help you get started with chiropractic care. Make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic in Brookfield by calling 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.