Have you been feeling involuntary spasms in your lower back? Are you bothered by a dull throbbing ache in your back? Do you experience shooting pains down your leg? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are most likely suffering from lower back pain. If you’ve never had it before, chances are you will experience it at some point in your life.
According to statistics, within a six-month period, 50% of Canadians will suffer from lower back pain. Up to 85% of working people can expect to have lower back pain at some point during their lifetime. The situation has nearly become an epidemic. While lower back pain can be a complex condition, it’s also a condition associated with various myths. Here’s what you need to know about the common back pain myths and how you can get back pain treatment in Richmond Hill and North York to feel your best again.
One of the most concerning myths is that exercise is bad for back pain. This could not be further from the truth. Regular exercise prevents back pain and is often prescribed by physiotherapists to treat back pain. Exercises may start with gentle movements and gradually build up intensity over the course of the treatment. After the immediate pain has subsided, a long-term exercise plan can prevent that pain from ever returning.
One of the most common phrases you will hear is that you should always sit up straight. Although slouching is bad, however, sitting up too straight for extended periods of time can also strain your back. Even if you work at a sedentary job, be sure to take breaks several times a day. You can give your back a break by leaning back in your chair with your feet on the floor and allowing your back to slightly curve. You should also stand up and walk around at least once an hour, perhaps when you are making a phone call at work or reading your notes.
There are many claims that sitting on a fitness ball is healthier and better than a traditional office chair, with people claiming that it strengthens the core and eases back pain. However, sitting on a ball does not automatically activate your core and the lack of back support can become an issue.
To activate your core, you must consciously engage your abdominal muscles. You will need to have the right size ball and practice proper posture to receive any benefits. If you choose to use a fitness ball while working, you should be able to sit comfortably with your thighs parallel to the floor. Choosing a ball that is too small will sink your hips below your knees and encourage your body to slouch. Once your core muscles have fatigued from sitting on the ball for an extended time you may risk exhausting your core and compromising your posture.
Although lying down until the pain goes away sounds like a good idea, it can work against you and may slow the healing process. In some cases, bed rest is not recommended although it is best to limit physical activities that could strain or impact the area. It may sound surprising, but mild exercise can help you heal faster from a sore back. By seeing a professional physiotherapist, you can get the right exercises and treatments to help you recover.
Another common saying is that you shouldn’t lift heavy things. In reality, it’s not about how much you lift but about what form you use when you do it. To properly lift a heavy object, get directly in front of it, squat close to it, and keep your back straight and head up as you grip the object and stand. Be sure that you use your legs to push up the load and your arms to hold it close to your core. Whatever you do, don’t lift with your back, twist, or bend your body or you may seriously hurt yourself. Of course, you should never pick up an object that you know is too heavy for you to lift. If it seems too heavy at first, stop and get help.
It is true that fit people are less likely to experience back pain because their physical activity strengthens the muscles in their back. However, being skinny does not mean you are free from experiencing back pain. In fact, people who are too thin, especially if they have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, may have bone loss. These people are more likely to break their bones and experience back pain from crushed vertebrae. It is very important, regardless of your body type, that you eat healthy, get an adequate amount of exercise at least three times a week, and take good care of yourself.
When your body is sore, a massage can be beneficial to help relax your muscles and loosen any knots. However, if you are experiencing chronic or sharp back pain you could have a more serious issue. Getting a massage may not be a good idea as you could irritate the area. In this case, you should see your family doctor or speak with your chiropractor.
It is unfortunate that many people forgo seeing their doctor after experiencing back pain due to fear that they will need surgery. The truth is that most patients that experience back pain never require surgery. Most back problems are treated without surgery with solutions such as activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.
If you’ve been experiencing back pain and are looking for a long-term solution to help you feel your best, come to MedRehab Group. We serve clients in Brampton, Georgetown, Hamilton, Toronto, Richmond Hill/Maple, Vaughan, Woodbridge, and Pickering. Contact us at 1-888-409-4058 to learn more about our physiotherapy in North York and other areas of the GTA, or to book your first consultation.
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