There are many common lower back pain myths, including what causes back pain, how to prevent it and how to get over it quickly. We would like to try and put some of these to rest with this two part blog series!
Lower Back Pain Myth 1 – Rest is helpful
Often when you have severe back pain, your instinct is to lie down and rest, but did you know that bed rest might not be the best option for a speedy recovery? Laying down for prolonged periods of times and avoiding activity, may lead to the following changes in your spine:
- Your muscles can become tight and your joints stiff due to lack of movement.
- When you rest, inflammation builds up around your joints, movement can prevent this.
- Movement increases blood flow to your muscles in your back, so rest may lead to lack of oxygen in your muscles, causing more cramping and pain.
With all this in mind, it is important to keep moving, even when you are in pain. A slow walk around the block, gentle stretching at home, swimming laps in a pool or even just walking around the house for a few minutes can make a huge difference.
While this movement can help decrease recovery time, it is still important to have a chat with a healthcare professional regarding your problem, to ensure you get the care you need.
Lower back pain myth 2 – lifting weights is dangerous
People are often scared to damage or harm their lower back, so they avoid certain things like the gym or sports, but your lower back is much stronger than you think! Your lumbar spine is very flexible with a broad range of motions, it is also a solid weight-bearer and is very sturdy.
The gym is often associated with lower back pain and injury. The common back pain myth is that adding heavy weights and increased training will lead to pain & injury. However, if done correctly, regular gym exercise with gradual progressive weight and resistance training are great ways to strengthen the lower back and prevent injury.
It is important to remember that often poor lifting techniques, increasing weights too quickly and poor warm up practices are some of the main contributors to injury at the gym. If you avoid these pitfalls, the gym is a safe and healthy environment, and can be very important in building strength and endurance through your lower back!
Lower Back Pain Myth 3 – Back pain is ‘normal’
An all too common myth about lower back pain is that “It’s normal to have back pain”. Whilst lower back pain may be common, it should not be considered normal!
It is estimated that 22-65% of people will have lower back pain each year, and 70-90% of people will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives.
Lower back pain is one of the top 10 medical burdens on our society and is ranked in the top 5 most common conditions experienced by the general population.
However, despite the frequency and prevalence of lower back pain, it is not normal to have lower back pain, and can in fact be a very debilitating and tiresome condition.
\You do not have to ‘push through’ or suffer with lower back pain, as most of the time treatment and management is highly effective and affordable. It can be normal to feel some occasionally stiffness, particularly in the mornings, but consistent stiffness coupled with pain for days to weeks on end is not normal.
- Fatoye, F., Gebrye, T. & Odeyemi, I. Real-world incidence and prevalence of low back pain using routinely collected data. Rheumatol Int 39, 619–626 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-019-04273-