Back pain has become so prevalent that it now costs the country more than cancer and diabetes treatment combined. More and more people are realizing just how widespread this problem has become; unfortunately, this has led to a lot of myths and misunderstanding about back pain. Here are 7 surprising things you probably don’t know about back pain.
1. Back Pain is extremely common
Research shows 80% of people will experience an episode of back pain during their lifetime. Most acute back pain is the result of simple strains or sprains and the prognosis is excellent. Within the first two weeks of an acute episode of pain, most people will report a significant improvement in their symptoms and almost 85% of people recover fully within 3 months.
However, if your back pain becomes persistent, do not ignore it as it could indicate a more serious problem such as a disc herniation. Only a very small number of people develop long-standing, disabling problems.
Earlier it was believed that an X-ray or an MRI scan was the best way to diagnose the root cause of back pain but we now know that this is most often not the case. These scans can show problems with structures in the back such as vertebral fractures or disc bulges but they cannot pinpoint weak muscles.
85% of back pain is mechanical which means that X-Rays and MRIs are of little to no help. However, newer and advanced diagnostics like Digital Spine Analysis can help pinpoint and isolate the exact cause of back pain making treatment of back pain more precise.
3. Bed rest is not helpful
Resting immediately after an injury will help to prevent further aggravation but it is important to resume your regular activities gradually, including work and hobbies, as this prevents your muscles from weakening even further.
In contrast, prolonged bed rest is unhelpful, and is associated with higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery and longer absence from work. In fact, it appears that the longer a person stays in bed because of back pain, the worse the pain becomes.
4. Surgery is rarely needed
Only a small percentage of people (less than 2%) with back pain require surgery. Most people with back pain can recover by identifying the factors which are involved in their pain, staying active, and engaging in exercises that help to eliminate the root cause of their pain. This will help most people continue their daily routine without the need for back surgery.
Studies show that on average, the results for spinal surgery are no better in the medium and long-term than non-surgical interventions, such as targeted exercise.
5. The perfect sitting posture may not exist
Should we all sit up straight? Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific static sitting posture that has been shown to prevent or reduce back pain. Different sitting postures suit different people, with some people reporting more pain from sitting straight while others from slouching. So while slouching gets a bad rap, there is no scientific evidence to support its ill effects. In fact, many people with back pain can adopt a very rigid posture (eg sitting extremely upright) with little change in their symptoms.
The ability to change our posture, instead of maintaining the same posture, together with learning to move in a confident, relaxed and variable manner is important for people with back pain.6
6. Poor sleep influences back pain
When someone has pain, a good night’s sleep can be hard to get. However, it works both ways as sleep problems can lead to back pain. Studies show that 53% of people with chronic low back pain also suffer from insomnia. So, improving sleeping routine and habits can be very helpful in reducing back pain.
7. The only way to treat back pain is to find its root cause
Back pain treatment involves identifying the root cause of the back pain and then targeting the treatment towards it. Injections and medications will only help to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain but they do not stimulate the healing process. Exercise in a controlled, gradual, and progressive manner is the only way to stimulate the healing process.
A customized treatment plan focuses on an individual’s goals. Back pain treatment involves education about the correct postures and ergonomics, specific controlled movements, device based therapy, and spinal mobilizations. Treatment for back pain focuses on correcting inefficient muscles and achieving the planned functional goals.
Isolation Treatment is an established and proven treatment methodology delivered by spine specialists through the use of unique medical protocols and advanced technology. Our initial detailed assessment and diagnostic procedure called Digital Spine Analysis (DSA) identifies the specific deficiencies in muscular strength and flexibility which in-turn cause pain. This medical report provides the basis for a customized treatment program (ASMR), where the identified muscle groups are targeted and isolated through the use of advanced technology to accelerate their regeneration. This provides lasting pain relief with improved flexibility and mobility and improves overall quality of life.