Your spine is simply amazing. It holds you securely upright, while providing you with incredible flexibility that allows you to dance, lift your baby and do an infinite number of wonderful things that we all take for granted.
But back pain is a common problem that affects about 80% of the population at one point or another. It’s the second most common reason people visit their GPs, and chronic back pain can create a significant amount of frustration and disruption to everyday life.
Worryingly, there is a lot of misinformation about back pain out there. How many times have you been led to believe that exercise can hurt a bad back? Or that bed rest is the best cure for back ache?
Myths about back pain are almost as prevalent as back pain itself. And it’s crucial to get the facts.
Gaining a decent level of knowledge about your back will allow you to work more productively with your healthcare team. So here are four important things you should know about back pain:
1: Gentle stretches before going to bed can help ease back pain in the morning
If you get up in the morning feeling like your spine needs a gallon of oil just to straighten up, start doing some gentle back stretches before falling asleep. An effective stretching exercise is to lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Sitting on a chair and pulling your knees up to your chest can also be beneficial. If stiffness or pain persists, contact a healthcare professional.
2: Other problems can cause back pain
Most types of back pain are caused by muscle strain or mechanical issues, but there are other more serious causes, such as infection or arthritis, which you should also be aware of. Never assume that your back pain is just “one of those things”; a chiropractor or healthcare professional should always evaluate the cause of your symptoms through conducting a physical exam and reviewing your medical history. Back pain is common, but it is certainly not normal. Don’t ignore it.
3: You should wait as long as you can before undergoing back surgery
Most medical professionals advise patients to wait as long as they can before undergoing spine surgery. This is usually because back surgery only helps to relieve some, but not all, causes of back pain. With proper care and attention, most cases of back pain have the ability to improve without the need for invasive measures.
4: You can reduce chronic back pain by improving your overall health
This is probably the most important thing you can know about back pain. Just like any other medical condition, chronic back pain can be improved when your overall health is better.
Stopping smoking, getting enough quality sleep, reducing stress and getting regular exercise are all effective ways to boost your health and improve the condition of your spine. A reputable chiropractor will be able to discuss with you the best options for your condition.
When it comes to your back health, knowledge really is power!