Myth Busters & Back Pain

There have been a series of posts and posters from the CSP recently with the hashtag #mythbusters. I have a couple of posters up in my clinic and they were pointed out to me by a client today – and so I thought it might be good to do a quick blog about the 4 that I have on the wall.

They all relate to back pain, as that was the original mythbuster thing. It was an attempt to get people to realise what we do and don’t know about back pain, and to give them a chance to make decisions for themselves. There are as many therapies and theories about back pain out there as there are patients and therapists and surgeons.

Here are 4 simple things that we know… we absolutely *know* …which have helped a lot of people in the past, and will hopefully help people now and in the future.

The 4 Myths of Back Pain

1. Moving will make my back pain worse – MYTH

People fear movement – that it will make things worse. Bending and twisting are especially worrying. However, it is essential to keep moving. Gradually increase how much you are doing. If things get worse, it does NOT indicate a worsening of the problem – it may simply an indication that you may have done too much too soon.


2. I should avoid all exercise… especially weight training – MYTH

Back pain shouldn’t stop you from doing things that you enjoy doing, Most studies have shown that getting on with things and continuing to do things you enjoy can help you get better sooner. If you enjoy lifting weights – then continue to do so. Again – if things get worse, it is NOT an indication of a worsening in the problem… it mat be an indication that you have done too much too soon. If you need to, modify things to enable you to keep doing things you enjoy.


3. A scan will show exactly what is wrong – MYTH

Scans…  sometimes they will – but most often they won’t. Often people have age-related changes within their skeleton that are totally unrelated to pain. Scans can cause fear which influences behaviour making the problem worse. Scans do not show muscle fatigue which can be the main contributing factor to back pain.


4. Pain equals damage- MYTH

This used to be the established view. New research has changed our thinking. Pain can be a warning system to stop us from doing things – like holding onto a stinging nettle. However, the brain can get confused and remember pain where there is no problem. Modern physio takes a holistic approach that helps understand where pain comes from and enables patients to understand what it is, what it means and how to live with it affecting them less.



Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.