TELUS Health Care Column – 3 myths that may be increasing your low back pain

Low back pain is the leading musculoskeletal complaint worldwide.[1] But these 3 common myths may be inhibiting your ability to feel better:

1: Low back pain will become persistent and deteriorate in later life

Aging does not cause back pain, and the research supports this:[2] Staying active, managing stress, and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help protect against back pain at every age.

2: Pain related to exercise is always a signal to stop or modify the activity

When pain persists past three months, the surrounding muscles become more sensitive to touch and movement. When you move and feel pain, it’s a byproduct of how sensitive your surrounding structures have become and not necessarily how much “damage” there is. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you start to move and exercise again after an injury, and it’s important to gradually increase your activity with the support of a professional.

3: Pain flare-ups indicate tissue damage and require rest

Pain flare-ups can happen unexpectedly, but they are often not related to tissue damage. Common triggers are lack of sleep or poor sleep, stress, tension, low mood, inactivity or unaccustomed activity.

Managing these triggers can help prevent exacerbations. If you do experience a flare up, try to stay calm, move within your tolerance, and work with a physiotherapist if you can.

Learn more about TELUS Health Care Centres’ physiotherapy services.

[1] Wu, Aimin et al. “Global low back pain prevalence and years lived with disability from 1990 to 2017: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017.” Annals of translational medicine vol. 8,6 (2020): 299. doi:10.21037/atm.2020.02.175

[2] O’Sullivan PB, Caneiro J, O’Sullivan K, et al

Back to basics: 10 facts every person should know about back pain

British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020;54:698-699.

Low back pain is the leading musculoskeletal complaint worldwide.[1] But these 3 common myths may be inhibiting your ability to feel better:

1: Low back pain will become persistent and deteriorate in later life

Aging does not cause back pain, and the research supports this:[2] Staying active, managing stress, and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help protect against back pain at every age.

2: Pain related to exercise is always a signal to stop or modify the activity

When pain persists past three months, the surrounding muscles become more sensitive to touch and movement. When you move and feel pain, it’s a byproduct of how sensitive your surrounding structures have become and not necessarily how much “damage” there is. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you start to move and exercise again after an injury, and it’s important to gradually increase your activity with the support of a professional.

3: Pain flare-ups indicate tissue damage and require rest

Pain flare-ups can happen unexpectedly, but they are often not related to tissue damage. Common triggers are lack of sleep or poor sleep, stress, tension, low mood, inactivity or unaccustomed activity.

Managing these triggers can help prevent exacerbations. If you do experience a flare up, try to stay calm, move within your tolerance, and work with a physiotherapist if you can.

Learn more about TELUS Health Care Centres’ physiotherapy services.

[1] Wu, Aimin et al. “Global low back pain prevalence and years lived with disability from 1990 to 2017: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017.” Annals of translational medicine vol. 8,6 (2020): 299. doi:10.21037/atm.2020.02.175

[2] O’Sullivan PB, Caneiro J, O’Sullivan K, et al

Back to basics: 10 facts every person should know about back pain

British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020;54:698-699.

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