HEALTH TALK: Myths and truths about back pain

You may think lifting heavy objects is a certain cause of back pain. But it’s how you lift that matters. Here are some facts to help you get to the root of back pain.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BACK PAIN

It might be a sharp stab. It might be a dull ache. Sooner or later, eight out of ten of us will have back pain. Back pain is common – and so are back pain myths. Keep reading to learn more about the myths and the facts.

MYTH: ALWAYS SIT UP STRAIGHT TO PREVENT BACK PAIN

Yes, slouching is bad for your back. But sitting up too straight too still for too long can be a strain on the back. If you sit a lot, try this a few times a day: Lean back in your chair with your feet on the floor and a slight curve in your back. Even better: Try standing for part of the day, while on the phone or while reading work materials.

MYTH: LIFTING HEAVY OBJECTS HURTS YOUR BACK

It’s not necessarily how much you lift, it’s how you lift. Of course you shouldn’t lift anything that might be too heavy for you. When you lift, squat close to the object with your back straight and head up. Stand, using your legs to lift the load. Do not twist or bend your body while lifting. It can really hurt your back to twist while bending and lifting with your feet on the floor – as you might do when reaching down from a chair to lift a dropped pencil.

MYTH: STAY IN BED UNTIL BACK PAIN GOES AWAY

Yes, resting can help an acute injury or strain that causes back pain. But it’s a myth that you should stay in bed. A day or two in bed can make your back pain worse.

MYTH: BACK PAIN IS ALWAYS CAUSED BY AND INJURY

Disc degeneration, injuries, disease, infectious, and even inherited conditions can cause back pain.

FACT: OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE SUFFER MORE BACK PAIN

Staying fit helps prevent back pain. Back pain is most common among people who are out of shape, especially weekend warriors who engage in vigorous activities after sitting around all week. And as you might guess, obesity stresses the back.

MYTH: SKINNY PEOPLE DON’T GET BACK PAIN

Anyone can get back pain. In fact, people who are too thin, such as those suffering from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder, may suffer bone loss resulting in fractured or crushed vertebrae.

MYTH: EXERCISE IS BAD FOR YOUR BACK PAIN

A big myth! Regular exercise prevents back pain. And for people suffering an acuter injury resulting in lower back pain, doctors may recommend an exercise program that begins with gentle exercises and gradually increases in intensity. Once the acute pain subsides, an exercise regimen may help prevent future recurrence of back pain.

FACT: CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS CAN HELP BACK PAIN

Guidelines from Pain Societies and other such institutions for treatment of lower back pain recommend that patients and doctors consider spinal manipulations – either by a chiropractor or a massage therapist – for patients with back pain.

FACT: ACUPUNCTURE CAN HELP BACK PAIN

According to these same experts, patients and their doctors should consider acupuncture among treatments for back pain patients who do not get relief from standard self care. Yoga, progressive relaxation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy are also suggested for consideration.

MYTH: A SUPER-FIRM MATTRESS IS BEST FOR YOUR BACK

A Spanish study of people with long-standing, non- specific back pain showed that those who slept on a medium-firm mattress – rated 5.6 on a 10-point hard-to-soft scale – had less back pain and disability that those who slept on a firm mattress (2.3 on the scale) mattress. However, depending on their sleep habits and the cause of their back pain, different people may need different mattresses.

See you next week.

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4 Comments

  1. October 19, 2011

    Executive Commander,

    It is not surprising to know this.

    If the lower back pain related to prostate cancer, a lot of construction workers need to take care of their lower back. Since not only they overworked the muscle, an indirect damage to the organ inside, is there possibility to increase the cancer screen rate? Absolutely. How many construction worker took care of their water intake? Isn’t kidney on the lower back?

    Another pain like upper back pain has a lot to do with the congestion with stones in gallbladder and liver, pain in this sense we can say is a more accurate indicator than X-ray.

    This animation is made to illustrate for a similar concept: the gall stones and upper back pain.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he0Qt5Gs9fI

    A simple test that everyone can do to test if they have a “upper back pain”(toward middle up) Even those who may not feel the upper back pain (as we speak) :) 8-O :)

    http://www.liver-pain.com/upper-back-pain.html

    Good Luck!

  2. October 19, 2011

    you doe need a “doc” to ansewer that:i am not a “doc” but once you have prostate cancer my youte; you gonna have pain around this area, which includes the lower back.but mind power is another factor we can use to ease back pain. i wish you all; good health and strength;

  3. moving
    October 19, 2011

    Doc – waist pain next. Please

  4. executive command.
    October 19, 2011

    Doc I heard that lower back and waist pains are associated to prostate cancer, is this correct??

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