Back Pain Myths
Back pain myths are like any other, however, your mom was not totally wrong; hunching can certainly be bad for your back. But the opposite is true as well. Strain can be also caused by sitting up for too long without a break. If you work make sure that your chair is at a height where your knees are at a 90-degree angle, your feet can rest flat on the ground, and you have back support. Make sure that you stand up, stretch, and take a walk several times each day to keep from becoming stiff or causing injury.
Back pain sufferers can actually experience increased pain if their mattress is too firm since it puts more strain on heavy points like the hips and shoulders. On the other hand too soft a mattress could lack the support required to allow proper movement. In both instances, the person wakes up stiff and in pain. Studies show that a medium-firm mattress provides the right amount of support to help prevent injury.
A poll by the North American Spine Society revealed this as the number one back pain myth. Sure, if you don’t work out then try to win a competition, you could experience injury. You can help prevent back pain by preparing your body and workouts with proper warm-up and great stretching exercises. (Take a cue from professional athletes that factor stretching and warm ups in their everyday routine.) Strengthen your back by strengthen your core, through exercises focused on strengthening your stomach and back muscles as well as cardio.
Getting older does not mean life has to be painful. While there are aches and pains that come with an aging body, staying physically healthy (see Myth #3) through exercises that keep our bodies strong, flexible and limber are a huge benefit. There are several exercise options to try, T’ai Chi, Pilates, yoga and treatment options which range from acupuncture to physical therapy to advanced treatment options both surgical and nonsurgical. Bottom line is you do not have to live with back pain.
Another back pain myth is sufferers often claim one wrong twist or simply bending over was the cause of their injury. But that was likely the result of several other factors. Overdoing a workout, using poor technique when lifting heavy objects, bad posture, and especially weight gain can all put strain on the spine and lead to “out of nowhere” spasms. As with more serious conditions such as joint and disk disorders a spine doctor is recommended to find the source of the pain.
There are few things as relaxing as a nice spa, but doing so after injuring your back may actually make your situation worse by increasing inflammation. Doctors recommend applying ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time during the first two or three times in order to reduce pain and inflammation. An exception, people who suffer from chronic pain can find relief taking a warm bath. Play it safe and check with your doctor for the best treatment.
Most people will experience some level of back pain in their lifetime, but the overwhelming majority will find relief through modifications such as over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines, exercise, physical therapy, or even just by waiting it out. In actuality, spine surgery is recommended for a small percentage of patients and until all other treatment methods have been tried. These patients often suffer from degenerative spine or joint problems that cause pain that is chronic. Whether you understand the origin of your pain or not, a fear of surgery shouldn’t prevent you from seeking medical help.
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