It is easy to confuse myths and facts when it comes to back pain. Back pain is one of the most common health complaints today with 80 percent of people experiencing problems at some point in their lives. Rather than rely on hearsay about what causes back pain and which treatments work best, it’s important to consult a health professional. Here are some myths and facts about back pain, along with spinal health tips that can help prevent problems.
Your back is an amazing part of your body! It allows you to stand and supports your arms and legs. It also protects your spinal cord, which sends messages between your brain and the rest of your body. Knowing what to do when you have back pain is important. A sedentary lifestyle, as well as injuries, arthritic changes, and aging, can all lead to problems. What should you do when you have back pain? Have regular spinal checkups, practise recognized self-care, and see a chiropractor.
MYTH: Bed rest is a great treatment for back pain.
FACT: At one time, many people believed this to be true. But in fact, bed rest may worsen your back pain unless it is so severe that you cannot move. See a health professional such as a chiropractor about chronic or new back pain.
MYTH: Applying heat is recommended for a sore back.
FACT: Applying heat may worsen the inflammation of the joint and surrounding muscles and ligaments. Use ice on a sore back instead. The usual recommendation is to ice – use a commercial cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables, or ice in a dampened towel – for the first three days of acute pain. Limit cold pack treatments to 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and always place a damp towel or cloth between the sore area and the ice.
MYTH: Pain is the main indication that something is wrong.
FACT: Pain in your back is definitely an indication that something is wrong, especially if the pain is chronic and stops you from doing everyday chores and activities. But you don’t always feel pain in your back when there is a problem. Restricted movement or discomfort in your arms, legs, and shoulders are also indications that something’s up with your spine.
One of the most important facts about back health has to do with posture. It’s a fact that good posture and a properly aligned spine, in everything you do, can help prevent back and neck pain. Exercise can help keep your back and spine fit and healthy too. Flexibility stretches help keep you limber while core exercises, such as those involving balance, Pilates, or a stability ball will help to strengthen your spine.
Credit: Canadian Chiropractic Association