Common Misconceptions about Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a very common cause of disability and dysfunction in adults. 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Like its incidence, misinformation regarding the topic is also very common. Our goal at Concierge Rehabilitation with this blog post is to dispel the most common myths associated with this topic, empowering our patients to achieve a better functional outcome.
1. “I have to keep my posture perfect at all times!”
This sentiment, although common, is not completely correct. Recent research has time and time again demonstrated a poor association between “bad” posture and pain. Maintaining any given posture for long periods whether traditionally considered “good” or “bad” can bring-on low back pain.
Maintaining perfect posture to decrease your risk of experiencing low back pain is not something you should be too worried about. Current research suggests that Interrupting long bouts of sitting with some form of activity decreases your risk of low back pain. When you move, physical stressors are distributed through your body, reducing the overall stress experienced by a single joint.
Always remember that the “best” posture is the “next” posture.
2. “I have a slipped disc.”
The cause of low back pain can be attributed to a variety of reasons that differ greatly amongst individuals. A slipped disc is seldom the cause. The placement of discs within the spinal column is maintained by strong ligaments. Displacing a disc requires significant forces that the average individual will not be subject to.
On the other hand, disc herniations are quite common amongst those above the age of 25. Oftentimes these herniations are asymptomatic (causing no pain or other symptoms). A herniation involves a small protrusion of the gel-like inner portion of the disc beyond its normal limits. If symptomatic, a disc herniation can oftentimes be adequately managed with the appropriate rehabilitation and exercise protocols.
3. “Bending is bad for your low back.”
This is not entirely true! The spine is made to move. Maintaining neutral spinal posture is only advised when lifting heavy loads. Low load spinal flexion is safe to do in most cases. You should always consult your doctor or physiotherapist before taking any risks concerning your low back. They can assess your situation, provide the right guidance and facilitate the best possible physical outcome for you.
4. “I’m in pain and so I shouldn’t move.”
Variability in posture and movement, especially when low loads are considered, is important for recovery. If you are experiencing low back pain, the key is to move within your pain-free limits. With time and continued pain-free movement, your tolerance for load and movement will increase. Don’t stop moving. In the treatment of low back pain, all modern-day evidence-based clinical guidelines dictate that a patient should maintain pain-free activity or begin a structured exercise program to combat their symptoms.