Back pain is a pretty poorly understood physical ailment, which is confusing considering that four out of five of us will experience it at some point in their lives, and half of us will have it this year. And perhaps it is because it is so common that we disregard it so much. After all, if back pain is just something which happens to us, it is easy to disregard it the same way we disregard a cold or a small bruise.
But unlike with a cold or a bump, back pain is rarely something that happens to us randomly. Usually it is caused by our life in some way, shape, or form, and if we ignore it it will never actually go away. So we must become more back pain aware if we are to avoid it as much as possible.
Fact: Back pain can happen to any of us.
Many people assume that they are too young to get back pain, or too old for it to start from nowhere. Others assume that their back pain was inherited from their parents, or that because it does not run in the family, they will never get it. In reality, back pain can affect anyone as it has many causes.
Fact: Back pain is a sign something is wrong.
Another false assumption is that back pain is a matter of bad luck, like catching a cold, and we cannot do anything about it. However back pain is almost always a sign that we have an injury, poor posture, or even a degenerative condition which needs treating.
Fact: Back pain progresses.
Not all back pain will get worse. It has actually been found that back pain rates go down around retirement age, due to better posture and more rest. But back pain can and will get worse if you do not treat it.
Fact: Back pain can go away at any time.
Another assumption that we make is that back pain is just a part of who we are, of how our life is lived, or a genetic thing we cannot handle. However, we must remember at all times that back pain could potentially go away, so we cannot give up hope.
Fact: Back pain is a symptom, not a disease.
The way we talk about back pain we often consider it a disease that needs treating directly, usually with massage or medication. But because your back pain was caused by something, it will come back if you do not remove the cause.
Fact: Being fit and healthy can help avoid back pain.
Being a healthy weight and having strong muscles can encourage your back to build up, which will correct your posture, build bone density, and generally make you less vulnerable to back pains of any kind.
Fact: It is wise to let your back support itself.
Many people turn to hard mattresses, supportive chairs, ergonomic furniture, and corsets to force their back to be upright at all times. But not moving or using your back enough is as bad as slouching or hunching over. By moving too little our muscles can waste and then we will not be able to hold our backs on our own.
Fact: The spine is strong, resilient, and heals well.
If you watch enough movies you would be forgiven for assuming that the spine is as strong as a dry stick and will break at the slightest provocation. However, it is actually very well designed and incredibly robust. And it can heal back that way too!
Fact: There is no one cure for back pain.
Back pain is not one condition, as we have discussed. It is a symptom which could be caused by any number of other ailments. So we cannot cure it with a pill, or a special exercise. We must treat the cause instead.
Fact: Any treatment is good treatment.
If your pain is virtually unbearable, do not worry about not seeming “genuine” if you need paracetamol, acupuncture, or a special massage to feel less pain. It is your body and any method of pain relief, proven or doubted, is good if it helps.