The number of people affected by back pain in the UK is increasing…and coupled with that are the countless myths and misconceptions about back pain.
However, did you know:
Most people will experience back pain at some stage during their life and at the time can of course be worrying. But it is actually very common.
The spine is a strong, stable structure and not easily damaged so in most instances it is a simple sprain or strain.
Studies have shown that exercise is one of the most effective strategies to preventing back pain. Although there are no solid studies showing which type of exercise is more effective, it’s important to find one that you enjoy and that fits in with your life. It is important to start slowly and build up both the amount and intensity of what you do.
If you have back pain it doesn’t always mean you need a scan. A scan can pick up perfectly normal changes to your spine and may result in people avoiding the activities that they should be doing to help such as moving, exercise and stretching. Of course there can be instances where scans do pick up something that has not been detected, but your GP or Osteopath can advise you.
Contrary to what you have read, there is no strong evidence to link the benefits of painkillers and recovery from back pain. Exercise and professional advice is the preferred option when it comes to recovery. If you choose to use painkillers, they should always be used as a short term option due to the side effects and used in conjunction with other measures, such as exercise and Osteopathy.
When it comes to back pain, scientific studies show that avoiding activity and prolonged bed rest can actually cause more damage, prolong recovery and lead to further time away from daily activities and work. The most important thing to do is avoid anything that aggravates the back, but staying as active as possible and returning to usual activities gradually is important in aiding recovery.
There is a common misconception that back pain can only be fully treated with surgery. However, most back problems can be addressed successfully with non-surgical options such as exercise, Osteopathy and tailored treatment plans.
There are of course some uncommon back conditions where there is a need for surgery, and these will be detected by your GP or consultant.
There are many myths associated with bending and lifting and the link with back pain. Generally an injury will only occur if something is picked up incorrectly or awkwardly, though more often than not it’s more likely to just be a sprain or strain.
Everyone is different, so it’s important to ensure you only lift items that you can manage safely and carefully.
There is growing research to link the importance of sleep in addressing back pain. Good quality sleep reduces stress and improves your overall wellbeing, which in turn can make you less susceptible to the triggers of pain and help you to cope if it does occur.
Factors such as room environment, mattress, emotional triggers and digital devices should all be reviewed to ensure you get the best quality sleep possible.
Many other factors can cause back pain including physical factors; psychological factors; general health and lifestyle factors and social triggers.
It is important to note that seeking early intervention (treatment) from an Osteopath, can help speed up the recovery process. If your back pain does not ease after 4-6 weeks or becomes more painful, seek advice from an Osteopath or your GP.
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