Low back pain is something that everyone fears and many will experience at some point in their life. Unfortunately once you experience back pain, your chances of having future episodes is significantly increased.
Here are 4 misconceptions about back pain and how PT can help you reduce your current symptoms and even prevent future episodes:
#1 – Bed rest is the best way to treat my pain
This was common practice long ago, but as more and more research on exercise and its effects on back pain have been conducted they show that remaining active is the best approach. Although some movements may cause more pain than others, participating in gentle physical activity and movement will help reduce the episode of back pain and get you back to a more fulfilling life.
#2 – All pain is bad
Pain is generally considered to be an indication that something bad or wrong is happening. Though this can be the case at times, pain is simply a response from neurotransmitters released from our brain in response to a stimulus. Understanding your pain is an important concept that will enable you to determine whether pain is simply a response or something detrimental is happening. Back pain that travels to the center of the spine during particular movements is called centralization and is a prognostic factor in determining if your pain is resolving. If you pain is peripheralizing, or moving away from the center of your spine, consult your Physical Therapist.
#3 – Imaging is necessary and will tell the exact problem
Although imaging through MRI and X-Ray allows clinicians to confirm possible sources or causes of back pain, it is not necessary to treat your pain. Many asymptomatic individuals may show similar degenerative changes or disc bulges that do not need to be treated. Understanding your symptoms and correlating to proper anatomical understanding about nerves and dermatomes can allow the physical therapist to pinpoint the cause of your low back pain. Imaging is recommended when your symptoms continue to worsen or do not improve with physical therapy treatment.
#4 – Surgery is the best answer
In most cases, surgery is not recommended for back pain from a disc herniation or arthritis. Using a proper method of assessment and examining your symptom response to movements and other traits of your current episode of back pain allows a physical therapist to determine a proper plan of care. This can reduce acute and chronic symptoms in as quickly as 2 weeks in some cases! In more severe episodes of back pain with sensation loss, progressing weakness, or associated bowel and bladder changes, surgery is required.
Please call our office and let our spine trained PT’s help you today!