When it comes to human health, back pain is just about universal — sooner or later over 80 percent of us will have back pain. Who said becoming homo sapiens and getting up off our arms and onto two feet was a good idea?
At our four Coastal Spine locations, we see all sorts of back pain due to all sorts of causes. Some are serious enough to merit surgery. Others simply need some home TLC. But there are misconceptions out there that could be leading to your pain, so let’s cover a few of them here.
- Sit up straight — Sure your Mom always told you to sit up straight. But your back doesn’t like it all the time. It’s better to take a few breaks and lean back in your chair and let your back curve for a bit. And try standing for part of the day, such as when you’re on the phone.
- No heavy lifting — This may be a personal mantra, but you actually can lift heavy stuff, as long as you do it the right way. Squat down close to it, with your back straight and head up. Stand, using your legs to push up the load and your arms to hold it close to your middle. No twisting or bending your body.
- Bed rest for bad pain — While watching all eight seasons of Breaking Bad in one bed session could seem like a nice treatment for your aching back, it can actually make it worse.
- Back pain comes from injury — You’re just as likely to have back pain due to disc degeneration and other conditions as from trauma.
- Exercise is bad for back pain — At Coastal Spine, one of our first methods of conservative treatment are certain exercises when you have hurt your back. These will start with gentle movements and build in intensity. Beyond that, regular exercise is the best way to prevent back pain.
- Firm mattresses are better — Nope. Research has shown that people who sleep on medium-firm mattresses hurt less than those who sleep on firm mattresses. There are many more mattress options today than just a decade ago, and many will allow returns up to 100 days after trying them out. Your back will tell you which one it likes.
- Weight doesn’t affect your back — Being overweight is one of the prime factors for ongoing back pain. You’re simply adding load to your lumbar spine, the lower five vertebrae and discs heading into your pelvis. Overweight people who do not exercise also commonly have back pain.
OK, we’ve cleared up a few misconceptions about why your back is aching. Now to do something about your pain, call us at Coastal Spine, (856) 222-4444, and come see us at our Mt. Laurel, Sewell, Galloway, or Toms River locations.