Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints. It
can affect anyone. Although it is common, there are many myths
about the causes and treatment of back pain. Here's information
to help you know what to expect with your back pain care.
Myth: Most back pain is caused by injury or heavy lifting.
Fact: People who have jobs where they sit all day are just as
likely to have back pain as those who do very physical jobs.
Myth: Back pain is usually disabling.
Fact: Back pain can be intense, but it is rarely serious or
disabling. In fact, 7 out of 10 people typically get better
in 2 weeks. Nine out of 10 typically get better in 4 to
6 weeks with or without treatment.
Myth: Rest – and not working – is the best medicine for back pain.
Fact: Early movement and return to all your usual activities,
including work, usually helps speed up healing. It also
helps prevent deconditioning (loss of strength).
Myth: Slipped disks require surgery to repair.
Fact: Surgery is rarely needed to repair even herniated disks.
Most get better on their own or with spine therapy.
Myth: You need narcotics for back pain.
Fact: Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicines.
Narcotics are rarely used and can actually make the pain
worse. They also cause drowsiness and constipation and
have a risk of addiction.
Myth: MRIs and CT scans can identify the source of pain.
Fact: There are many pain-producing tissues in the back,
including muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and disks.
Most of the time we can't identify the exact cause of the
pain. Even sophisticated tests like MRIs and CT scans
aren't of much help. In fact, MRIs are often abnormal in
people who don't have any back pain at all.
Learn more about back pain relief
HealthPartners Designated Medical Spine Centers and Specialists Network
Has your doctor recommended an evaluation with a Designated Medical Spine Specialist before a consultation with a spine surgeon? Find information here.