Back Pain Mythbusters
The following post is by Guelph physiotherapist Veronica Wong, PT, CSCS
Have you ever had back pain? Did you strain something in your back when shoveling snow for the first time this year? You are not alone. Eight out of ten people will get low back pain at some point in their lives1.
As for the snow shoveling, it’s not uncommon to strain something in your back depending on how active you are over the year and whether or not your back is used to that sort of loading on it yet (and maybe how stressed you are about the holiday season!). Fortunately, most people do have large improvements in pain within one month and have only low levels of pain and disability after three months2.
Still, it can be very helpful to know a little more about what to do if/when you get back pain. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK did a great public health campaign last year on some common myths about back pain. If you haven’t seen the posters already, check them out below (and click here for more information and evidence behind these mythbusters):
If your pain has lasted more than 6 weeks, please consult your physiotherapist, chiropractor, or GP in order to:
- Rule out any rare, but sinister, medical conditions that could be causing your back pain.
- With the above ruled out, get some guidance on how to get moving again.
Of course, knowing these mythbusters is one thing, but it can be a lot harder to actually apply in our lives – this is where seeing a healthcare professional trained in pain care and rehabilitation, such as a physiotherapist or chiropractor, can be helpful.
1. Côté P, Cassidy JD, Carroll L. The Saskatchewan Health and Back Pain Survey. The prevalence of neck pain and related disability in Saskatchewan adults. Spine. 1998 Aug 1;23(15):1689–98
2. Pengel LHM, Herbert RD, Maher CG, Refshauge KM. Acute low back pain: systematic review of its prognosis. BMJ. 2003 Aug 9;327(7410):323.