Myths About Back Pain
There are myths and stories around every medical condition there is - and these can sometimes prevent people from getting the help they need. Let’s explore seven of the myths about back pain…
1. Back Pain Means SurgeryOnly a very small percentage of people with back pain will ever need back surgery – in fact, around 90% of back pain will go away in one to three months without requiring surgery. Even significant back injuries, such as herniated (slipped) discs can recover without surgery. A few very serious back disorders will require surgery to stabilise a damaged area or take the pressure off nerves, to reduce pain and prevent further damage.
2. Back Pain Needs Bed RestA long period of bed rest doesn’t help back pain – in fact, it can make it worse (see ‘Is Bed Rest Good for Back Pain?’). The best thing is to try to get back to normal activity as soon as possible, as lying down for long periods can make joints and muscles stiffer and even make the muscles weaker.
3. Back Pain Never Gets BetterMost back pain will get better between a few days and a few months. It is important to take advice from a doctor for treatment, and an occupational therapist should be able to help with any work-related concerns, such as how soon to return to work, and how to set up desks and chairs to reduce existing pain and prevent future attacks.
Some back pain will be long term, particularly if it relates to a severe injury or an inherited condition, but even this should be able to be managed through a combination of painkillers, anti-inflammatories and drug treatment, careful exercise and care with sitting, standing and lifting.