Back pain is one of the most common types of pain in the UK.
So we’ve summarised the top 8 mistakes many people make when it comes to back pain.
1. Searching for one magic solution
In many cases, there are a number of factors that you can use together to help improve your back pain. There is rarely one standalone solution. Approaches such as exercise, posture, diet and mind can all work together to help improve your back pain.
2. Demanding an MRI
Did you know that an MRI may not actually determine the root cause of your back pain? An MRI can certainly help provide a picture of what’s going on in your back and joints. However any issues it picks up may actually be degenerative changes and not the cause of your back pain. If degenerate issues are picked up, this can then have a psychological effect on you in the way that you think, move and act.
Times have changed. We strongly encourage our patients to keep moving little and often when suffering with back pain. Our bodies are designed to move. The moment we stop moving, we actually invite other issues such as joint stiffness, reduced range of movement and flexibility and muscle contraction.
4. Avoiding a diagnosis
The worst thing you can do if you are living with back pain is to continue ignoring it. As a general rule of thumb, if you have been in pain for more than three months, we class this as chronic pain and seeking a professional diagnosis is important. In many cases, the speed at which you seek treatment can often affect the recovery time and treatment effectiveness.
5. Continuing to try treatments that aren’t working
If you are seeking professional advice and help with back pain, you want to see continued improvement. The treatment and recovery programme should be discussed with you from the start to ensure you understand what the possible outcome will be. If you find that nothing is changing at all, then you should discuss this with your treatment provider and establish other options. It is important to note that it could take up to 12 months to see improvement in some conditions, which is why it is paramount to establish this from the start.
6. Doing too much on 'a good day'
It is tempting to push yourself that little further if you are having a “pain free” day. We have all done it. But this is actually the worst thing you can do. It is important to pace yourself to do around 75% of what you think you can do on days like this.
7. Taking extra painkillers
Taking painkillers may take some of the pain away but they will not address the fundamental cause of your back pain. Continuing to take tablets, or even extra tablets, can also prove to be extremely dangerous.
8. Putting heat on a new injury
Applying a source of heat to a new injury will increase the blood flow to the area and may increase pain and inflammation. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend using ice for acute injuries or pain, along with inflammation and swelling. Use heat for muscle pain or stiffness. When applying either source, never apply directly to the skin and only use for a maximum of 20 minutes.