3 Common Back Pain Myths
Updated: Aug 20
Sometimes it feels like every back pain specialist you speak to has contradicting information about how to get back pain relief or sciatica relief. In this article we clear up three common myths.
MYTH 1: Acute back pain is short-term pain
Research has shown that over 50% of patients who suffer from low back pain are far from short term. A study done in the United Kingdom by Croft proved that 50% of patients were still complaining about their low back pain after a year with their first attack. Another study followed patients for five years after their first attack and concluded that a large number of patients still had issues that were interfering with their daily lives (Enthoven, Skargren, and Oberg 2004). This study also concluded that over 50% of the patients did not have back pain relief and suffer from long-term problems including chronic low back pain. Back pain specialists have stated that “back pain is really a lifelong problem for some, and education and explanation to instill self-sufficiency is imperative.” So whats the good news?!
The good news is that using the corrective exercise method can truly change your life and give you hope again. How? It realigns the spine and teaches the patient how to manage their own symptoms to prevent flair ups... Perhaps the most powerful aspect is that in the event of a flair up, you can fix it quickly! In fact, using corrective exercises has been shown to have over 98% effectiveness per the McKenzie Institute for long term back pain relief.
MYTH 2: Spinal manipulation is the best and most effective treatment for back pain.
In the past, the most popular form of treatment for low back pain and neck problems has been by adjustment of the spine. Using manipulation for low back pain has proven that the effect is minor and also has contradictory results (Koes, 1991 1996). For over ten to twenty years the benefits of spinal manipulation have been greatly exaggerated. Around 80% of patients with common back problems can use self-treatment corrective low back exercises but out of that 80%, only 10% will require any manipulative therapy. This treatment has the patient depend on it instead of having them focus on low back exercises and activity to allow them to be independent.
People with back pain need to be aware that spinal adjustment treatments only should be given to very few people who actually need it. Spinal manipulation should only be used if self-treatment measures have failed.
If you are experiencing low back pain and go to a general physical therapist or chiropractor, you will most likely receive manipulation because that is their only treatment to try to relieve the pain... TEMPORARILY! You have to ask yourself, if you have been on a maintenance plan for years, and you have paid a lot of money over time... Has it given anything more than temporary relief?
MYTH 3: Ultrasound treatment and various electrical therapies are proven to assist recovery from back pain
Since 1995, there has been no evidence that forms of heat, shortwave diathermy and ultrasound provide healing for low back pain. The United States Federal Government Agency for Health Care Policy and Research issued recommendations for back pain relief and electrical therapies were not listed. There has been no proven evidence for the Health Care Policy and Research Agency to add these therapies to their recommendations.
These treatments do not provide any long term benefits for back pain relief and do nothing to treat the cause of the problem. That is why so many people have recieved them for years and have no long term changes to the issue. Back pain specialists are calling for passive therapies like manipulation to be under review because these methods could be harmful in providing back pain relief.
If you are experiencing back pain, for the first time, or for years with no significant improvement, if your life is not what you want it to be as a result, you may benefit from using corrective exercises based on your directional preference (not to get too technical).
How? Because they have been found to realign the spine AND keep people safe from regular flairs ups. This is why it is so commonly used by professional athletes as well... because for them, millions of dollars are on the line.
Thank you for reading and good luck in your back pain journey! Feel free take a look around the website, there is plenty of information, free guides and ways to reach out to us.
👉🏽If and want answers NOW about how to get back pain relief, feel free to Apply For A FREE Discovery Session. This can be done Virtually or In The Clinic...
👉🏽Or, Get our FREE Guide with Tips for Quick Back Pain Relief:
If you have further questions regarding this blog post or other tips that can help you to relieve Back Pain, Contact Us at Skyline Physical Therapy!