Patient education leaflet, taken from international experts in Patellofemoral pain- Barton and Rathleff 2016.
Which of the following statements are True or False:
- Bed rest is helpful for back pain.
- Back pain is caused by something being out of place
- Exercise is safe and good for back pain.
- Heavy school bags cause back pain
- Stress, low mood and worry influence back pain
1.False. In the first few days after the initial injury, avoiding aggravating activities may help to relieve pain, similar to pain in any other part of the body, such as a sprained knee. However, there is strong evidence that getting moving early is very important in order to make a good recovery.
In contrast, prolonged bed rest is unhelpful, and is associated with higher levels of pain, poorer recovery and longer absence from work. In fact, it appears that the longer a person stays in bed, this increases rather than decreases their pain. Get moving early to get better quicker.
2. False. There is no evidence to support that back pain is caused by joints, bones or pelvis being out of alignment. Manual therapy can help to ease pain by reducing muscle spasm, and improving movement, but this is not as a result of something being “put back into place.”
3. True. There is overwhelming evidence that exercise is helpful both in terms of prevention of back pain and in terms of recovery if you are suffering from back pain. However, starting an exercise programme can be hard when you are in pain. It is normal for muscles to be a little sore after starting a new exercise regime, however this temporary increase in pain does not signify damage.
4. False. This is a really interesting one! Research has not found a link between children carrying a heavy bag and development of back pain. However, if a child or their parent believes that heavy school bags can cause back pain, then the child is more likely to develop back pain. Research has shown a link between fear and the development of back pain.
5. True How we feel influences the amount of pain we feel. Stress, anxiety and low mood can make pain feel worse. So, whether it’s listening to music, going for a walk, or just “hitting the pause button” for a few minutes every day- find something that you enjoy, that relaxes you, and is good for your mood.
So now you know, some of the common myths about back pain. Interesting isn’t it! Now, spread the word………