Back pain is one of those conditions that many of us in New York never expect to experience. When it does occur, we can often be at a loss as to what to do to relieve it. Given the wide range of causes and symptoms, and the diverse, consultative opinions available in Manhattan, it can be difficult for a New Yorker experiencing back pain to parse the myth from the fact.
The following is a look at some of the most prevalent myths about back pain and the truth about what you can do to alleviate and prevent episodes of everything from mild, low back pain to a herniated disc.
1. Exercise exacerbates — Proper exercise strengthens the soma, engages the core, and supports the spine. In the gestalt, exercise benefits back pain.
2. Chiropractic doesn’t work — After over a century of successful application in clinical practices across the country, chiropractic has demonstrated again and again that its benefits are myriad. Visiting a chiropractor and receiving a chiropractic adjustment and consultation is a proven method for alleviating back problems.
3. The harder the mattress the better — Your grandmother slept on two planks her whole life and never had a back problem, right? That may be true, but the hard mattress cliché has not stood the test of time. The firmness of your mattress should really depend on your sleep style. Ask your chiropractor for advice on the best mattress for you.
4. Back pain increases with age — Incidents of back pain amongst New Yorkers are actually highest amongst the 30-55 group. This phenomenon is likely a result of the higher rates of work and lifestyle stress in this age range. This is not to say that someone experiencing back pain will just grow out of it, but rather that it is a manageable condition, not a degenerative one.
5. Don’t move! — While a healthy amount of rest is good for everyone, the old prescription of “lie in bed indefinitely” when it comes to back pain will not get an unhealthy back on the road to recovery. After a moderate amount of rest at the onset of back or neck pain, a patient should make the effort to begin widening his or her range of motion and engage in normal day to day activities as much as possible.
6. Only surgery works — Not true. There are many holistic approaches that can significantly benefit lower back pain, related neck pain, and even a herniated disc. Chiropractic services should be explored long before invasive remedies are considered.
7. Core strength doesn’t matter — It does. Your spine and your nervous system are the key to your health— a strong and engaged core is a critical element in spinal health. Next time you think about skipping out on your crunches or your Pilates class, consider that core strength is not just about getting flat abdominals, but about achieving overall health.
8. You can’t lift anything — If you are experiencing lower back strain and need to lift something, you can— if you do it correctly. Remember, it is not what you lift, but how you lift it. Engage your legs and lift from your base. Do not bend over and use your back to lever a heavy weight.
9. Athletic and/or thin people don’t have back problems — Back pain affects all of us. Low weight and/or athleticism are not a guarantee that you will not eventually need pain management for your neck or back.
10. Sit up straight! — Sit up, yes, but not necessarily “straight”. Good posture that prevents back and neck problems is relaxed good posture. Do not hyperextend your back in an effort to mimic what you think is good posture. Hold and center your head on your neck and spine, relax your shoulders, and allow your spine to follow its natural curves, while remaining engaged.
So, now you know… and, as the saying goes, knowing is half the battle. DASHA® “independent client providers” are here to help patients with busy, urban lifestyles and can further advise you on the ideas here, and help you develop a comprehensive plan for overall health and well-being. Through a combination of these tips and the guidance of a DASHA® “independent client providers” you can look forward to a pain-free tomorrow.