Listen up – I’m going to bust those back pain myths.
1 in 6 Australians reports low back pain in their lifetimes, and it is one of the leading costs of
healthcare, as reported by Medicare. Over recent years our medical knowledge of the pain
mechanisms of back pain has improved considerably, and with that – proof that lots of commonly
held back pain beliefs are in fact MYTHS. Education is where it’s at – correct understanding,
combined with physiotherapy has been proven to lead to a reduction in pain and disability.
Let’s bust those myths….
1. I’ve hurt my back, and now I’ll have a back problem forever.
The majority of people who hurt their back recover within a few weeks, even if initially they have
debilitating pain. Most people return to their previous level of activity and work. There are a very
small number of people who do develop chronic back pain, and it is now understood that there are
specific high-risk factors, including the level of pain, anxiety, fear-avoidance of movement,
catastrophising thoughts which can be flagged and managed by your therapist.
2. I’ve hurt my back, I need bed-rest.
The worst thing you can do is rest in bed. This will prolong your misery and recovery. Instead,
movement is the first aid for back pain. Walking, gentle movement exercises as taught by your
physio, and a graduated return to normal activity will get you better quicker.
3. I’ve slipped a disc/my back is out.
Disc’s don’t slip. EVER. We will do an entire blog on just this topic in the coming weeks. So just a few
– Disc bulges often don’t correlate to back pain
– When you have your back cracked – the noise is gas being sucked into the vacuum created
by stretching a joint. Nothing is being moved back in. (It wasn’t out in the first place!)
– The people that report the highest level of back pain disability believe there is something
mechanically wrong, even when investigations show no causative structure (this is known as
non-specific low back pain, the most common type – over 90%)
4. I NEED a back scan.
It has been widely scientifically proven that the changes seen on an Xray, CT or MRI do not
necessarily correlate to the person’s back pain. In fact, if you scan a heap of people who have never
had back pain, you will see the same changes – we think of them like the wrinkles in your skin, just
signs of ageing. Even the way that these scans are explained to patients can lead to a poor outcome.
On top of this, there is a higher surgical rate of people undergoing early scans.
To reiterate – understanding is everything. So if you’ve got more questions ask them in the
comments below, or come see us and we’ll get you back on track.
Miami Physio: 9534 4111
Lakelands Physio: 9542 9999