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Back Pain Myth Vs. Reality

Medically reviewed by K. Brandon Strenge, MD | July 5, 2022

Back pain is an extremely common ailment. It’s so common that people have developed misconceptions about its causes and treatment. Unfortunately, a back pain myth will never ease pain, and it can potentially make a condition worse. So, let’s discuss a few old wives’ tales you should ignore. 

Back Pain Myth: A sedentary life is easier on the back.

In fact, those who work behind a desk can be just as much at risk for back pain as physical laborers. Long periods of sitting can stress your spine, especially if your chair doesn’t have proper support. So, use a chair designed to help the lower back, rest your feet on a low stool, and take breaks often. 

Also, maintain an active lifestyle. Too much physical activity can lead to back injuries, but you still need strong muscles to protect your spine. So, exercise your core regularly, but remember to stretch and warm up first. 

Back Pain Myth: Spinal injuries cause back pain.

Injuries often result in back pain, but the condition also has other causes, such as natural aging and genetics. Still, back pain isn’t just for the elderly or predisposed. Sudden twisting, bending, and lifting can hurt people of any age and injure the muscles surrounding a spinal disc. Stress, bad posture, poor shoes, smoking, and damaging work habits can also strain the spine.

Back Pain Myth: Heat is always a safe remedy.

Heating pads and hot showers can loosen stiff muscles and joints, especially for those suffering chronic back pain unassociated with swelling. But heat can increase inflammation if you’re not careful. Instead, try icing your back for 20-minute periods during the two or three days after you start experiencing pain.

Back Pain Myth: Back pain always requires surgery.

While surgery effectively eases pain, most people find relief through more conservative treatments. Simple remedies like exercise, over-the-counter inflammatory medicine, and physical therapy typically resolve the issue. If they don’t, you’ll probably discuss surgery with your doctor.

Back Pain Myth: Back surgery is risky.

All surgeries come with risks, but back surgery often carries very few. Advanced imaging systems and new microsurgical techniques help create accurate pictures of damaged areas, resulting in precise surgery and short recovery periods.

Please call us at (270) 442-9461 if you’re experiencing prolonged back pain. Our experts can evaluate your issue and find the best treatment to help you resume everyday life.