There are many sources of uncertainty about back pain. It seems that there is always something on the news about a breakthrough that is revolutionizing the treatment of back pain or a new book that claims to have all the answers.
Unfortunately, as many of you know, solutions for healing the back pain are usually not so simple. While some people find fast pain relief, most people find that it is a long and winding road to get a precise diagnosis and effective treatment plan. The one roadblock that may hinder a correct diagnosis is falling prey to some common misconceptions about what causes back pain or how to get better.
Below are some of the most common misconceptions associated with back pain.
Back pain can lead to paralysis if left untreated
Truth: The spinal cord comes off the base of the brain, runs throughout the neck (cervical spine) and upper back (thoracic spine)and ends at lower thoracic level. Therefore, while most problems in this area are benign, spinal cord damage may accompany injury or certain disorders of the cervical or thoracic spine (for example; an unstable fracture spinal tumor, or infection). The spinal cord (tubular bundle of nervous tissue) does not run through the lower back (lumbar spine). Because the lumbar spine (L1-L5) has no spinal cord and provides a significant amount of space for the nerve roots, even in chronic conditions (such as a herniated disc) they are unlikely to cause paralysis.
I must be more careful to protect my back to avoid further pain
Truth: Many people with low backache overprotect their backs and, as a result, are more susceptible to injury and pain due to lack of stability. To stay healthy, your spine needs regular stretching, strengthening, and aerobic conditioning exercises. An inactive lifestyle and lack of exercise can lead to lack of strength and rigidity in the spine. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, protecting the back should primarily include the correct posture and body mechanics and physiotherapy instruction appropriate to ensure that you are exercising correctly.
Moving will make my back pain worse
Truth: The answer is no. If your back hurts–the cure may be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Walking can lessen pain, hasten the healing, increase flexibility, and boost strength. Walking strengthens your joints and muscles, including those in your hips, legs, feet, and torso along with the spine muscles that hold you upright. Walking benefits your circulation, helping pump nutrients to tissue and drain toxins, which nourishes your spine and prevent recurrences.
Need evidence? A study The Spine Journal in 2004 showed that a single session of an exercise such as walking could reduce low back pain from 10% to 50%. Moreover, a 1993 study found that just TEN minutes of treadmill walking led to a significant reduction in back pain.
An MRI scan or another diagnostic test is needed to diagnose my back problem
Truth: Most health professionals can develop a successful treatment approach based on the physical examination along with a complete medical history. Only specific patterns of symptoms in a minority of cases indicate the need for an MRI or other diagnostic tests. Typically, an MRI is used when patients do not respond to appropriate low back pain treatment.
I will need surgery because I have a severe back pain
Truth: Many people with back pain wonder if they will need back surgery and if and when they should consult a spine specialist. For most instances of back pain, it is advisable to start off with a physical exam by the primary care physician or from a physiotherapist before seeing a spine surgeon.
Only a very small percentage of patients who suffer from back pain will need to undergo surgery. There are some alternatives in caring for low back pain that can be explored with your physician or spine surgeon to avoid surgical procedures.
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