Have you ever had back pain?
Have your friends and family given you theories but never got clarity on the matter?
Have you been told that you need an MRI in case you've "slipped a disc"?
Back pain is the most common injury we see at Capital Sports Medicine. Nearly 65 million Americans will have back pain in their lives. 16 million adults have chronic back pain. All this costing $12 billion per year.
A big issue with back pain is all the stories that have stuck around. These myths mislead people about back pain and how to manage it.
I want to discuss the top 5 myths about back pain that I hear.

Myth 1: "To Diagnose My Back Pain I Need An X-Ray Or MRI Scan"

This is one of the first thoughts people go have when experiencing back pain.
While back pain can be scary, in most cases pain does not mean anything serious has happened. A scan should only happen if a physician believes that you have serious pathology: ie fracture, or cancer.
MRI results do not typically show what's causing your pain. They routinely find "symptomatic findings" in people without pain, like disc bulges or degeneration. A lot of findings on MRI are actually normal and a part of ageing.

MYTH 2: “Don’t Lift Heavy Things, You’ll Slip A Disc”

You've probably been told this in your lifetime at least once. Let's be clear. DISCS DON'T SLIP.
Your vertebral discs, which sit between your vertebrae, are surrounded by an incredibly STRONG fibrocartilage. It creates an extremely strong connection between the disc and the vertebrae. Because of this cartilage, it is impossible for discs to "slip".
The back is very strong and robust. It is not weak and vulnerable.
If you have a disc bulge or a herniation, do not panic! Neither of these mean that your disc has popped out. Disc bulges occur over time, and has probably jsut restarted to cause mischief by irritating the close nerve.
Lifting is very safe! Lifting weights as a part of an exercise regime can be vital to keeping back pain at bay!

MYTH 3: “Sit Up Straight!”

We've all been told by our parents to sit with good posture. To sit up right, chest forward, and shoulders back.
I constantly hear patients that they sit like this to prevent and treat their back problems. Yet constantly complaining about back pain. The truth is that there is NO ideal posture. Your best posture is really your NEXT posture.
Keep yourself moving and change between postures. Slumping and slouching are not bad things! This could be what your body needs if you are starting to feel some soreness from sitting upright for too long!

MYTH 4: “The Best Thing To Do For Low Back Pain Is To Work On Core Strength”

I always hear "Do I need to strengthen my core to fix my back?" "Maybe I just have a weak core!" These statements are very outdated in the modern day. There is no silver bullet that will help you with your back pain. Everybody is different, and everybody's back pain is different.
Some peoples back pain may improve with working on abdominal muscle strength and mobility. But it may not help the next person. This is why it's important to have an assessment with one of our chiropractors to be able to find the TRUE case of your back pain.

MYTH 5: “Bed Rest Is The Cure For Acute Back Pain”

While laying down seems like a really good idea for an acute episode of back pain, it might be the last hing you should do.
Your body is meant to move, and it craves that movement! This is why you shake your arm when its been stuck in one position for too long. By staying in bed, you may cause muscles to tighten up and make it hard to do daily tasks.
If you have acute symptoms, keep moving and avoid vigorous activity. This will help you through the first 48 hours of symptoms.

Final Thoughts

There are many more back pain myths out there. It can be hard to know what's true. Ultimately, if you're experiencing back pain, the best thing is to talk to a healthcare professional.
If you or somebody you know is suffering with back pain and want to find the root cause, we want to help.
All you have to do is follow the link below and book your appointment, or give us a call on: 301-328-0186
Byron  Lam

Byron Lam

Chiropractor, CCSP®, FR® Spine

Contact Me