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BY DR ARNAN SISSON
MARCH 21, 2018
This week we’re going to wrap up the second half of last week’s column on the most common low back pain myths. As I mentioned last week, when you can figure out what the myths are, you can better treat your back pain and get away from the pills, injections and surgeries much quicker.
The fourth myth, which I hear a lot, is that you need to take it easy and avoid rigorous activity. Now, I will say that if you have back pain that’s sudden that hits you hard and causes a lot of pain, for the first couple of days you may want to take it a little easy, but what I mean by that is you want an active recovery. An active recovery means that you do less activity than you normally do, but you are still going to move around. But it’s important to only do it for a day or two until the pain dies down, and then after that, you want to gradually start moving the back. It’s actually counterproductive to do bedrest for long periods of time and not move the back at all; it can actually lead to a “snowball effect” and worsen the back pain. Basically, you just want to build up the activity.
The fifth myth is you must stop jogging, running, playing football, golf tennis, etc. Very rarely is that advice warranted. If you have really bad back pain, you may find that you need to briefly put those hobbies on hold until you get better in two or three weeks. Once you’ve gone through the recovery period, then you can resume those activities. We know movement for the body is a good thing; it helps keep you healthy and helps keep the back pain away. So turning to your previous activities is always important.
The sixth and final myth is that back pain is caused by damp conditions, weather or sitting in a draft. You would be amazed by how often I hear this one in the clinic, but there is actually very little evidence to support pressure change or various weather conditions’ effects on pain. Now, for instance, if you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis, you are more sensitive to pain during these times, but weather and damp conditions aren’t going to be the main culprit behind it. In most cases, the real culprit behind pain is posture. About 80-90 percent of people with back pain aren’t sure what the cause is, it just sort of happened over time. An occurrence over time only supports the fact that it was caused by posture, and perhaps the biggest thing I see with a lot of my clients is the rounding of the back while sitting over the years, which is a big culprit to their back pain.
It’s important that you focus on your posture; how you’re standing, how you’re sitting. My clients see the best results when they take a look at those simple things, because improving your posture will not just allow you to treat your pain but avoid it from coming back.
That’s it for today, remember knowledge is power!
P.S. If you need a little more guidance, feel free to click here to download a completely free 13 Step Back Pain Cheat Sheet that has some great tips to help you today!