Commonly the mind set of someone with lower back pain is to protect the back and avoid movement. Unfortunately, this further contributes to their disability, forcing the body to move poorly and compensations to occur leading to further dysfunction and pain.
Some of the most common misconceptions that I hear regularly in our Bondi Physio Clinic are:
Back pain means your back is damaged.
Back pain means there is something out of place.
Back pain means you have to strengthen your core, brace, sit up straight and keep a straight back when you bend.
Back pain means you should protect your back.
Back pain means you shouldn’t be running or lifting things.
All are not true.
Do I Need an MRI Scan if I Have Ongoing Lower Back Pain?
The importance of MRI scanning in lower back is also questionable and can impact directly on these behaviour patterns in lower back pain sufferers. Peter O’Sullivan has an interesting discussion on this topic.
Only 1% of all lower back pain have very serious causes such as malignancy or cancer, with a total of only 5% caused by disc prolapse impinging on a nerve root. The remaining 90-95% of back pain sufferers have no diagnosis based on scan.
If we MRI scanned that entire population, 90% have degenerative discs, 45% have disc bulges, and 20-30% have protrusions, annular tears or facet joint arthrosis. This has created a common misconception that their lower back pain is related to these ‘abnormal’ findings that are actually completely normal and in fact not contributory to their pain.
In order to break this pain cycle it is important to encourage movement, returning to regular activities including work, hobbies, regular routines and exercise. Small amount of hands on treatment will help with the acute pain initially, but ongoing emphasis on continued movement, breathing exercises, and overall better education of the condition will help to change patients mindset and ultimately reduce their symptoms.
If you are experiencing back pain, book in to see a Physio at our Bondi Junction Clinic to see what we can do for you.