Low back pain affects 80% of the population at some point in their life. Because of this, there’s a lot of information swirling around the internet, not all of it true or helpful. We’re going to lay out some common myths and help you understand what the research says to discover the truth about low back pain.
"Back pain won't affect me as long as I stay active!"
Daily activity will help you stay healthy and live longer, but is not a guaranteed preventative against low back pain. Living a sedentary lifestyle is definitely a common cause low back pain. However, it can also be caused by a whole spectrum of things from sports injuries to something as seemingly harmless as picking up a pencil. Some injuries will resolve spontaneously, unfortunately, if the root cause is not identified and treated before you return to your normal activities the risk that you’ll re-injure yourself increases and can, in some cases, lead to chronic and disabling pain. Check out our exercises page for some specific exercises that are proven to help prevent and reduce low back pain.
"I need an MRI to properly diagnose my back pain"
Most low back pain is a constellation of mechanical symptoms, rather than a singular identifiable pathology. In these cases conservative healthcare providers, especially chiropractors, can more accurately pinpoint what is causing your back pain through a thorough history and skilled exam. An MRI is only needed in a small minority of cases. Most commonly when there is concern of specific nerve or organ damage as the source of pain. If this applies to you, we’ll always make sure we get you to the specialists who can give you the care you need.
"I got an MRI anyways and the doc found a bone spur, so that must be what's causing my pain"
Most MRI findings for low back pain are purely incidental, meaning that they are normal processes happening in the body that typically don’t have any direct impact on your pain or healing. Bone spurs specifically are a normal process associated with aging and will likely be found in patients aged 35 and up. Most patients that come in with findings like bone spurs or disc protrusions found on an MRI do not correlate with their specific pain patterns. When a proper history and physical exam are performed, they can provide more insight into what’s actually causing your pain and discomfort than an image or set of images.
"I won't ever fully recover from this back pain without surgery"
Surgery should always be the last option for patients with low back pain. Once someone cuts into you and starts changing things in your body it changes not only how your body will move and feel, but it will also change your body’s ability to properly heal. Recent studies have shown that chiropractic care provides significantly faster return to activity and reduction of pain, as well as an over 40% decrease in likelihood for surgery following workplace injuries.
Your health is in your hands!
If you’re suffering from low back pain, or even if it’s been an inconvenience or irritation keeping you from fully enjoying the things you love, there are effective treatment options available to get you out of pain and moving better faster and without surgery.
- Jayshree RK, Singh OG. Rational Use of Mri in Back Pain. Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences. 2019;(30):2417. doi:10.14260/jemds/2019/529u
- Schneider M, Haas M, Glick R, Stevans J, Landsittel D. Comparison of spinal manipulation methods and usual medical care for acute and subacute low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. Spine. 2015;40(4):209-217. doi:10.1097/BRS.0000000000000724