FACTS vs. MYTHS ABOUT BACK
Let’s begin by learning some
facts in order to separate truth from myth with regards to
back pain. First of all, under one percent of acute lower
back pain is the result of a serious infection or condition
like cancer or a spinal injury. For those under 50, the rate
is even lower. Back pain is the number one disability for
those under age 45. And it runs second, after the common
cold, as the top reason for visiting a healthcare provider
in the United States.
“There is nothing really wrong with you.” Myth! Chronic pain
sufferers report that doctors generally tell this to about
90 percent of them and it is incorrect. In reality, the
majority of low back pain cases or some 90 percent generally
come from an unknown cause, like an infection or a
particular injury. And the duration of the pain runs
generally from four to six weeks.
“People don’t die from chronic back pain.” Wrong! The pain
combined with depression and anxiety in long-term cases
places sufferers at risk for suicide, which does happen from
time to time.
“Most back pain requires surgery.” Myth! On the contrary,
under two percent of patients with back pain need surgery.
However, back pain is the third top reason for surgery.
“Only a small percentage of workers suffer back pain on the
job.” Wrong! The top occupational hazard in the USA is back
“Lie down and rest for back pain.” Au contraire. Contrary to
popular believe, bed rest can hinder recovery. Health care
providers recommend remaining active to decrease down time
“Men suffer back pain more than women.” Not! With regards to
gender issues and back pain, it is a myth that men suffer
back pain more than women. In reality, the only main
difference is with secondary pain to disk disorders during
middle age. However, with regards to race, low back pain is
reported more frequently among Caucasians than other races
including African Americans.
“If a patient’s pain description lacks a regular, consistent
pattern, it’s probably imagined or exaggerated.” Myth! No
two people, no two cases are totally 100 percent identical.
Activities, events, pain and people themselves vary from day
to day and there is no 100 percent correct way to describe
pain in words to fit a perfectly accurate diagnosis.
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