Back Pain Myths

Back pain is so common and the causes can be many. What back pain actually is, why it arises, and what you should do to treat it can be a confusing topic. Not-so-credible sources often tout “having the answer,” and, unfortunately, there is no real straightforward solution. However, there are numerous back pain myths that are 100% false, and Raleigh Neuro is here to dispel the rumors to keep your back strong and healthy.

“I should avoid exercise to save my back.”

Myth. It’s true that certain activities like volleyball, golf, and gymnastics may be detrimental to your back, but regular, moderate exercise can actually strengthen your spine and core, making back pain less likely. Without exercise, muscles become weak, and your back becomes prone to injury. It’s a good idea to introduce walking, yoga, and light weights into your exercise routine to stay strong and healthy.

“Heat and massage are effective treatments for back pain.”

Myth. While these can feel very good, and thus feel like they’re helping the problem, they’re simply a very short-term solution. Once the heat is gone or the massage is done, for chronic back pain, the issue will still be there. In cases of potential injury, these methods should only be used to supplement the treatment provided by your doctor.

“An MRI or cat scan is necessary to determine my problem.”

Myth. To accurately determine why you’re experiencing back pain, Raleigh Neuro may only need a complete physical exam and your medical history. Often back issues arise from simple overexertion, and no diagnostic test is needed. In fact, an MRI may show no problems for someone with a back injury, and show issues for someone who is completely healthy. These tests are only necessary in a percentage of cases.

“Back pain means surgery.”

Myth. Spine surgery is recommended in only 1% of cases, and 9 out of 10 people recover from their back pain simply with conservative treatment. At Raleigh Neuro, your doctor will likely start with a very practical plan — medication, exercise, physical therapy — and, barring serious injury, only when these options have been exhausted will surgery be considered.

“If my back hurts, I should stay in bed.”

Myth. Though a certain amount of rest is necessary to keep from overexerting yourself, bed rest is one of the worst things for a hurting back. Not using those muscles weakens them and makes them stiff. A stiff, weak back is a recipe for even more back pain, and likely further injury. A regimen of gentle exercise is best to get a hurting back returned to normal and is better for your mental health, too.

“Having back surgery once will just lead to more surgery.”

Myth. The vast majority of patients that do undergo surgery only undergo surgery once. As long as you follow your doctor’s plan of action to eliminate your back pain for good, surgery likely won’t be in your future. Only in the most severe of cases, or in emergencies, will another back surgery be necessary. You are always in control of your treatment and can ultimately decide which treatment is right for you, too.

“Back pain is just a normal part of aging.”

Myth. Yes, it’s true that as we age, back pain becomes more common; however, that does not mean that it’s a problem that should be lived with. Having back pain can be detrimental to your quality of life, and medical action should be taken. A spine specialist will be able to make sure you can enjoy life, improve the pain, and get you back to living life the way it was supposed to — pain-free.

As the leader in neurological and spinal care in central North Carolina, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic is here to help. If you’re experiencing back pain, contact us at 919-785-3400 or make an appointment online.