Dr Jessica Sammut
Myth-Busting Back Pain!
There are many misconceptions about back pain, and today I am here to set your mind at ease, by addressing some of the most common myths that people believe about back pain!
Back pain isn’t common
Back problems are in fact common conditions. The most recent statistic from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey show about 3.7 million Australians (16% of the population) have back problems. It is also estimated that 70–90% of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives.
Back pain only affects men
Shocking that some people think this, but alas, back pain affects men and women equally.
I will not get back pain as I have a low impact lifestyle
There is actually no known single cause for back pain and it can actually be triggered by a number of things. Every day activities may trigger your back pain, or it may even develop over time. Common triggers for back pain include: bending awkwardly or for long periods; lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling heavy objects; slouching or sitting in a slouched position (for example whilst watching TV); twisting awkwardly; over stretching or overusing muscles.
Back pain is part of the ageing process
It is true that as we age we become more prone to certain types of back pain. However, with all the treatment options available today, back pain does not have to be part of the ageing process. Working with the Whole Health Osteopathy, we will endeavour to establish the type of treatment right for you.
If I get back pain once I will always suffer from it
A high percentage of people with back pain make a very good recovery with the right treatment and management. People who have experienced back pain in the past may have a predisposition for back pain in the future, but at Whole Health Osteopathy, we place emphasis on teaching you to understand the small warning signals, before they re-develop.
Back pain is always caused by injury
Diseases, disc degeneration, infections, and even inherited conditions can cause back pain, not just injuries.
I have just started getting back pain and should rest completely.
Evidence now suggests that resting completely can actually make the pain worse. Other treatments for short term back pain include staying positive, changing your sleeping position, exercise and lifestyle, reviewing your sitting position. If you feel back pain creeping in, you can read my Acute Pain Management tools here.
Being overweight means I have more cushioning around my bones and therefore I will not get back pain
Too much upper body weight can put strain on the lower back and cause pain.
I must avoid exercise if I have lower back pain
Actually, regular exercise helps prevent back pain and in some cases, at Whole Health Osteopathy, we recommend an exercise programme for people who have recently hurt their lower back, which includes gentle movements and strengthening that gradually builds up.
I need surgery for my back pain
A small percentage of people with back pain require surgery, it is estimated that around 90% of people can manage their problems conservatively, by staying active, gaining an understanding of the pain and triggers it or visiting Whole Health Osteopathy for treatment and maintenance.
Manipulation techniques will not help my back pain
Most back pain is usually a result of mechanical or functional disturbance of the spine – problems that Osteopaths have been treating successfully for over 100 years. The value of Osteopathy for back pain is widely recognised, with GPs recommending spinal manipulation and acupuncture and referring patients. This said, you do not need a GP referral to visit us and we can start treating you from your initial consultation.
Seeing an Osteopath is a waste of time and are only interested in the one area
Trained Osteopaths treat the whole body, and the whole person. At Whole Health Osteopathy, we support your ongoing care with hands on treatment, advice and a clear exercise and lifestyle plan. We offer advice on regular exercise; preventing workplace injuries; lifestyle advice; as well as fostering strong referral networks with other relevant healthcare professionals. So now that we have those pesky misconceptions out of the way, below is a list of some common pain conditions that may present in the low back, or hips and pelvis. Whole Health Osteopathy may assist you with the diagnosis, treatment or management of:
Lumbar facet sprains
Lumbar disc issues
Myofascial trigger points
Arthritic, degenerative changes
Muscle strains or tears
Hip flexor issues
Pelvic imbalances or weaknesses
Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) dysfunctions