Back pain is one of the most common orthopaedic issues we humans experience. About 80% of people will experience significant back pain at some point in their lives—that’s almost 4 million Alabamians alone! Still, plenty of myths persist in our minds about the nature of back pain and how to treat it, so we’re here to debunk some of the most common ones.
Myth: Back pain is always caused by injury
When we think of back pain, we often think of car accidents, falls, or heavy lifting incidents. These injuries can, of course, cause pain, but the majority of back problems develop over time. General wear-and-tear, poor posture and repetitive strain injuries are more likely to lead to disk injury and related issues.
Genetics can also play a role. Degenerative disk diseases and spinal osteoarthritis are examples of back issues that can be inherited, affecting the way that back tissues change over time.
If you can’t pinpoint a moment when your back pain began, you’re not alone—up to 85% of patients can’t. But don’t worry, both injury and non-injury related back problems have treatment options.
Myth: Say yes to bedrest
In the early days of back pain, specifically after a mild strain or injury, rest can be helpful—you certainly wouldn’t want to overuse a healing muscle. But staying in bed can worsen your pain. Stretches and mild, guided exercises are much more likely to ease discomfort and set you on the road to healing.
In fact, workers with sedentary jobs who don’t take standing or stretching breaks are at greater risk than those with moderately active jobs. If you want to engage in some healthy prevention, movement is key to spinal health—so long as you practice safe, proper techniques and don’t push beyond your capabilities.
Myth: Serious back pain must require serious interventions
You may have heard the term herniated disk—this is when a disk in your back bulges, ruptures, or protrudes. Sounds pretty serious, right?
It may feel pretty serious, too: some people experience severe pain from herniated disks. Others, however, hardly feel a thing. The same goes for a range of back problems, from pulled muscles to pinched nerves. The truth is that we all experience pain differently, and our solutions are as unique as our bodies. Even herniated disks don’t always require surgery—some heal on their own over time.
Solving back pain requires personalized and compassionate care for every situation. At Southlake Orthopaedics, our dedicated team of rehabilitation specialists can help many patients heal without surgical interventions
Myth: If we can’t find the problem straight away, the pain must be in your head
It would be great if we could always find the cause of back pain with MRIs, X-Rays, or CT scans, but the reality is that these imaging tests can’t see everything. The spine is complex, with many delicate tissues and nerves, and diagnosing the cause of back pain often takes a combination approach. But this doesn’t mean your pain isn’t real.
If you have persistent or concerning back pain, don’t shy away from getting help from a trusted orthopaedic physician. Our team is dedicated to listening to you and working together to find a solution.
Myth: Back pain is the end of the story
Back pain can be alarming, and for some patients, finding out they have a disk, spinal, or other kind of injury can sound like a terminal diagnosis. The fear is that back pain will be chronic, debilitating, and always getting worse. But here’s the good news: most people recover within a few months.
Back pain affects almost everyone at some time. And while recurrences can and do happen, with proper intervention and treatment, the prognosis is overwhelmingly positive.
Truth: Southlake Orthopaedics is here to help
Whether you’ve just experienced an injury, or your pain is slowly worsening over time, the experienced physicians at Southlake Orthopaedics are here to help get your back on track again. Call or visit southlakeorthopaedics.com to request an appointment today.