Seven myths about back pain - Fox 2 News Headlines

Seven myths about back pain

Myth 1: If you have a slipped disk (also known as a herniated or ruptured disk) you must have surgery. Surgeons agree about exactly who should have surgery.

Fact: 90% of all herniated discs heal without surgery. Surgeons often dis­agree about who should have surgery.

Myth 2: X-ray and newer imaging tests (CT and MRI scans) can always identify the cause of pain.

Fact: For 85% of people with back pain, doctors are unable to determine a precise cause of the pain, even with scans and/or x-rays.

Myth 3: If your back hurts, you should take it easy until the pain goes away.

Fact: People who stay active after a back injury (even in the face of discomfort) do significantly better than those who stop all activity.

Myth 4: Back pain is usually disabling.

Fact: Although the pain can sometimes be severe, it is rarely disabling.

Myth 5: Most back pain is caused by injuries or heavy lifting.

Fact: Over half of the people with back pain develop it gradually without a specific injury. Source: Deyo, Richard. Low back pain. Scientific America, August, 1998.

Myth 6: Everyone with back pain should have a spine x-ray.

Fact: X-rays rarely help a doctor treat a patient with back pain more effectively. In fact, only one time in 2,500 will an x-ray change a doctor's treatment decision. Further, undue exposure to x-rays can be harmful.

Myth 7: Bed rest is the mainstay of therapy.

Fact: Bed rest causes rapid deconditioning which can make a person more susceptible to developing a chronic problem. Scientific research demonstrates that those who remain at least somewhat active after an injury do better than those who rest in bed.

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