Back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions worldwide, and half of all US citizens will experience some level of back pain each year. Since the condition is so common, you'll hear advice from all sorts of people, websites, and organizations. Unfortunately, not all of it is credible. Watch out for these common myths about chronic back pain which could actually slow your recovery.
Exercise Will Make Your Pain Worse
It stands to reason that if you're hurt, you should do your best to avoid exercising until you feel better, right? In many cases, injuries can be exacerbated by exercise. While this is true for many acute conditions, chronic pain can actually get worse if you take a break from exercising.
Certain exercises help alleviate pain because they strengthen your core muscles. When your core abdominal muscles are weak, much of your upper body's weight has to be supported by the spine alone. Over time, this causes significant strain, which increases your back pain. Regularly exercising your core muscles strengthens them and helps them assist your spine in bearing your weight.
Exercise is also beneficial for back pain sufferers who are overweight, since losing weight means putting less strain on the spine. When your upper body weighs less, your spine can handle more activity, so you'll be able to get more done as the weight comes off. In contrast, limiting your exercise and gaining weight means your back problems could get even more severe due to additional strain.
Lying Down Is Beneficial For Recovery
Whether acute or chronic, studies have shown that bed rest actually hinders recovery where back pain is concerned. Spending long periods of time in bed due to the pain can cause your muscles to atrophy, which further reduces support for your spine.
Depending on the severity of your condition, doctors recommend that you maintain as much normalcy as possible in your day to day life. You may want to avoid repetitive bending and standing again, along with tasks that require lifting overly heavy or unwieldy items. Still, limiting bed rest will speed your recovery and reduce your pain faster than staying under the covers.
Exercise Balls Are Better Than Office Chairs
When it comes to back trouble, office chairs are a much-maligned potential cause. Slouching forward in your chair as you work can lead to chronic pain, as can sitting bolt upright for long periods in a straight-backed chair. One rather fun alternative to the office chair is an exercise ball, which supposedly can help you strengthen your core as you work.
The problem with this theory is that exercise balls are not very well regulated, and people rarely have any instruction on how to use them properly. A ball that is too small or too large won't be able to help you exercise effectively, and in some cases may cause problems of its own if the height results in poor angles for keyboard use or looking at your computer monitor.
A second issue with using an exercise ball is that it's just as easy to slouch on one as it is to slouch in a chair. If you have a habit of slouching subconsciously while you work, a ball won't stop you. Exercising your core while you sit is also something that must be done consciously, which means that if you get deeply enmeshed in your work, you may end up sitting just as still as you would in a plain old chair.
The best option for coping with back pain in an office setting is an ergonomic setup including a chair, desk, computer, mouse, and keyboard that are all arranged for ease of use. If you can shape your workstation around your back problems, you'll be much more comfortable than if you try to do a balancing act every day.
You Should Just Get A Massage
Massages can be effective at reducing back pain, especially with regular treatments for chronic pain sufferers. Depending on your condition, massages may even be recommended by your doctor. However, if you don't know what's causing your back pain, you should go to the doctor's office first instead of the massage parlor.
Using a massage to get away from the pain may help in the short term, but if your back pain is caused by something serious, you could allow hidden conditions to worsen without a diagnosis. Be sure to consult with a doctor or perhaps a chiropractor about whether or not massages are a good pain relief strategy for you.
When you're in pain, you can be tempted to try every possible solution to make it end. Unfortunately, some solutions are actually more harmful than you might expect. Be sure to ask your doctor about ways to reduce back pain before you try them and your recovery and pain management should go smoothly.
Check out sites like http://cochiropractor.com to find back pain specialists you can check out.