Written by Dr Rammurthi
There are many myths in low back pain regarding diagnosis and treatment among the general population. Let us see what are these myths and what are facts.
Myth-1: Forward bending is very harmful in all back pain
Fact: In certain conditions like facet arthropathy, spinal canal stenosis, Psoas myofascial pain forward bending relieves pain and not harmful; in these conditions, these are beneficial. In our daily life, almost all works like sitting in chairs, cooking, watching TV sitting on a sofa, we need to bend forward and mostly not harmful. As a general rule, lifting heavy objects bending forward should be avoided, but slight forward bending that is needed in our daily life is not prohibited.
Myth-2: Sleeping on a hard surface is helpful and is indicated until the patient is fully recovered from back pain.
Fact: Sleeping on the hard surface produces more back pain. It may also cause a disturbance in sleep which is again harmful. The mattress should not be too soft or too hard. The patient should be allowed to continue with the bed that is comfortable for him/her.
Myth-3: Spondylosis is the most common cause of low back pain.
Fact- Sponylosisis is not a clinical condition, it is a radiologic terminology and it indicates the degenerative changes in any part of the spine. It does not constitute any specific diagnosis. The most common cause of low back pain in young and middle-aged populations is disc degeneration and in the elderly age group it is facet joint arthropathy; the other common cause is muscle pain.
Myth-4: Complete bed rest is needed when someone has acute low back pain
Fact- Bed rest of more than 3 days is harmful and restriction of movements for daily life activities is not prohibited. The person should be allowed to move within the limits of pain. Strict bed rest causes muscle atrophy, lung complications, deep vein thrombosis, osteoporosis, and metabolic disorders. Moreover, strict bed rest reduces disc nutrition, accelerates disc degeneration and becomes responsible back pain in the future. Complete bed rest must be avoided and daily life activities must be allowed.
Myth-5: Lumbo-sacral belt or brace supports our back and it is a very important part of the treatment of chronic low back pain.
Fact- Lumbo-sacral belts or braces does more harm in chronic back pain. Prolonged uses cause muscle atrophy, deconditioning of back muscles, joint and ligaments. Belts and braces must be avoided in chronic mechanical low back pain.