The Myths and Facts About Back Pain

Myth 1: A scan (X-ray, CT, or MRI) will show what is wrong.
Fact 1: What you see on a scan may not be the cause of pain. Scans of people without back pain are just as likely to show bulging discs and other changes.  

Myth 2: Pain equals damage.
Fact 2: Pain is not an accurate indicator of injury or damage; it is a warning signal that responds to many different things. Often the warning system becomes oversensitive and produces pain when there is no damage.  

Myth 3: My lifestyle habits — like smoking or overeating — do not affect my back pain.
Fact 3: General health and lifestyle can play a direct role in how much pain a person feels. This might include diet, excess weight, smoking, exercise levels, alcohol intake, stress, sleep quality, and fatigue.  

Myth 4: Moving will make my back worse.
Fact 4: Some movements are uncomfortable when you have back pain, but moving your body, doing normal activity, and returning to work as soon as possible is good for your back and will not cause damage.  

Myth 5: I should avoid exercise, especially weight training because of my back pain.
Fact 5: Exercise is accepted as the best treatment for back pain. No one type of exercise is better or worse, so simply do what you enjoy and feels best! Start slowly and build up gradually.  

Myth 6: Surgery will help my back pain.
Fact 6: Research shows that people with back pain who have surgery do not have better results than those who have other treatment. This is because many things influence back pain, not just bones and joints.