The beliefs of back pain that I have gathered over the years of Spark Performance and Physiotherapy.
The 3 Beliefs of Back Pain:
You Should Push Through Pain
Settling For A Quick Fix Works Out
You Should Rest And Wait It Out
The weather is changing here in the East Valley and this is the weather we all look forward to all year!
Will you be able to enjoy it?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go enjoy a round of golf without worrying about “pulling” your back?
Or, be able to sit in foldable chairs to enjoy all of the sporting events your kids’ are taking part in this Fall?
Or, even just enjoying life while being active with your kids, going to your yoga/pilates classes, or hiking with those fur-babies?
At Spark Performance and Physiotherapy, we specialize in helping athletes and active adults live their active and fulfilling lifestyles, without missing a beat. We help individuals avoid chronic use of pain medications (a huge epidemic in the US currently) and unnecessary surgeries/injections.
In my time as a therapist, I have treated thousands of people who were dealing with back pain for as little as a few days and up to years. During these years, I have gathered 3 common erroneous beliefs about back pain that patients tell me they make when trying to recover from back pain on their own…
Part of my goal when starting this company was to ensure I do my part in educating my community on how to take proper care of their back, keeping an active and healthy lifestyle, all while not resorting to temporary or addictive measures for pain relief.
Simply avoiding these beliefs can help you heal quicker from back pain, anywhere from 20-50% faster, all while still maintaining some sort of activity level.
Belief 1: You Should Push Through The Pain
Even if you have a “high pain tolerance” and generally try to push through every and any pain you feel just to stay active. Pain is there for a reason and it is our body’s way of saying something isn’t acting as it should right now. Ignoring those signals and pushing through it could make things worse.
It is important to note that I am not advocating inactivity. Instead, BEING ACTIVE IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL FOR YOUR BACK PAIN RECOVERY!
What you should do is figure out what movements are causing your pain and at what point…and avoid them. Sounds obvious, right? Most people need to hear this though as most that I have come across have simply just stopped the movement that was hurting all together.
Modification is key!
- If it hurts to do your nightly 20-minute walk at the 20-minute mark, start by walking for 10-15 minutes and slowly build up to 20 minutes.
- Does it hurt to perform back squats at the gym? Try a friendlier back version of the squat-the front squat.
Pushing through your limits very rarely pays off. Pay attention to the pain signals your body is giving you and don’t keep irritating the painful tissue as this could cause a delay in your return to full activity.
Belief 2: Settling For A Quick Fix
Most people who injure their backs immediately look for a way to get rid of the pain. And why shouldn’t you?
Whether that be heat, ice, laying on your back with your feet propped, taking ibuprofen, etc.
Nobody likes pain and we all have lives to live that don’t allow us to cater to pain.
If those get rid of the pain quickly, those were great options!
The problem is if it takes longer than a few days or if that same pain you get keeps coming back.
If it keeps coming back, there has to be an underlying issue that should be addressed. We should not be living in fear or limiting our activities because we think our back pain will flare up.
The cycle of needing the quick fix pain relief over and over again needs to stop.
These quick fix options don’t address any of the underlying issues that may be causing the pain. Maybe you need some help with modifying the weight your are lifting? Maybe some tweaks with technique for doing activities? Or, learning how to load your body and prepare it for the painful movements?
There is a solution to getting rid of the pain completely and it does not involve the quick fixes where you may wake up the next day feeling fine.
Get to the root cause of the pain. If you want help in discovering what that is, feel free to schedule a free consultation. Click here to arrange it.
Belief 3: Rest And Wait It Out
This is by far the worst thing you can do for your pain. I strongly dislike when I hear my patients took the advice of a friend, co-worker, or family member who suggested they just stay in bed or on the couch for a few days.
What’s wrong with this advice? Well, sometimes the pain will go away with resting.
Still don’t see what is wrong with getting pain relief from doing nothing? Well, the big issue is that PAIN RELIEF MAY NOT MEAN THE ISSUE IS COMPLETELY GONE.
I always tell my patient this: “Our bodies are great at adaptations, but those adaptations aren’t always great for us.”
Sure, we may be able to get off the couch or bed after a few days of complete rest, but how are we moving now? Are we just avoiding loading the painful joints? Are we not using all of the muscles around our spine because we have learned to use other muscles?
Many doctors, friends, family, even co-workers may offer the advice to just rest and take a ‘passive approach’ to heal your back pain. I can assure you, they don’t mean any harm and that they likely do have your best interest in mind. As a musculoskeletal and movement expert, let me tell you that movement is key to complete recovery and reducing recurrence rates. Research proves this time and time again.
So there you have it. The three most erroneous beliefs of back pain that I typically hear from my patients. If this has even helped one person in my community, then I have done my job. I am trying to get the right information out there to empower my community to make the best, and most informed decisions about their health.
I leave you with this. TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO YOUR RECOVERY. You will be rewarded for it by returning to an active lifestyle quicker and more safely than a passive recovery.
Steven Alexander PT, DPT, Cert DN
Leading Arizona Physical Therapist in Rehabilitating Back Pain