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In order to really treat chronic back pain, it is necessary to start from factual data and bust false myths.
80% of people will experience back pain at least once in their lives.
Luckily, back pain is an issue that usually goes away on its own between a week and two months in 90% of patients. We know this thanks to
scientific research carried out across the globe.
The real challenge when it comes to back pain is when the pain becomes chronic. About 30% of subjects who suffered from back pain will
experience it again in the future, which will cause pain and leave from work.
It is interesting to note how, despite the effective diagnostic and therapeutical instruments at our disposal, back pain is a growing issue in the western world. This shows as that maybe, up to now, we have been moving in the wrong direction.
To understand how we can keep the symptoms from becoming chronic and maintain our wellbeing, it is important to bust several myths on back
pain. In order to do so, we have to take a look at where these myths came from in the first place.

Let’s Bust A Few Myths

At the first signs of back pain, medical practices used to turn to x-rays or MRI scans to figure out what was wrong.

This model, which was prevalent until a few years ago, meant that:

FALSE MYTH: every pain was necessarily associated to damage to the tissue👎.

 

Afterwards, things changed mostly due to two observations: The first comes from a scientific study in which people without symptoms of every age group went through MRI scans.

From the results, it was evident that:

It was perfectly normal to have anatomical alternations without pain.

This first observations entirely changed our perspective on lumbar pain, meaning that:

Protrusions, bulging discs, osteoarthritis and hernias are very rarely the reason behind persistent pain👍

 

The second observation is that patients go through periods of wellbeing interrupted by less positive ones. Anatomical differences are stable, so how is it possible for there to be such a clear alternation between wellbeing and pain?

The answer is, once again, that:

Anatomical alterations don’t explain persisting of pain👍

Now I wish to help you understand how this false myth came to be. In the Seventies, the introduction of MRI scans marked an important step forward for the diagnostics in many diseases, such as cancer. Patients suffering from persisting back pain were given MRI scans to find out what there may be to explain the symptoms. At that point, every anatomical variation that was not the norm was considered the origin of the problem. To make an example to help explain the situation, we could say someone was sentenced without due process because no one went through the trouble to confirm whether or not that anatomical alternation really was the origin of the symptoms.

From that moment, this mistaken belief took root: if you have a back problem, it means something must be out of place in your spinal column👎

Again, modern studies say that anatomical alternations are normal in the spinal column and that an entire life without pain is possible despite them. What were the effects of this false myth? It means that patients were told things such as:

“Since you have a protrusion, it is best to avoid putting weight on your column” or “Your spinal column looks like that of an 80-year-old, best to stay at rest”. This led the patients to change behaviour and avoid some perfectly normal activities. In a way, we could say this false myth has made patients afraid to move. For example, many subjects suffering from back pain stop bending forward out of fear they may remain blocked, or stop lifting weights, and therefore put a limit to what would be normal functions. This avoidance causes the muscles to weaken, as they no longer work as they did before, and the health of their spinal column decreases. Perhaps you can see yourself in this story, or you know someone who would, don’t you? Fortunately, things are different and now that I helped bust false myths, we can put down the basis for a new way to look at back pain, based on the most recent scientific evidence, which is certainly the best way to combat chronic pain.

What You Can Do To Keep Pain From Becoming Chronic

1-Keep active. Studies say that people who avoid staying in bed and carry on with a normal life are the ones who, one month on, will be doing better.

2-Keep calm. As explained, there is no relation between damage and pain, so focus on living your life as normal and you’ll see all will be well.
3-Don’t look up information online. I am not sure why, but people love publishing tragic news most of all, maybe to make a scene or to look for sympathy, while few talk about how they healed, that they are well and went back to their usual life. If you really want accurate information, go see professionals who may help you. For example, we offer a free evaluation, specifically to address patients’s doubts and give quality information. 

4-Don’t go through exams such as MRI scans unless it’s prescribed to you by a professional. You’d waste money for nothing.

Medben‘s Rehabilitation Program For Chronic Back Pain

If your back pain has been persisting for a long while, it certainly is time to see a professional. Our specialist rehabilitation program for back ache includes an initial evaluation during which the physiotherapist screens your case for red flags – signs or symptoms that tell us the patient needs to go through some diagnostic exams to exclude more complex pathologies.

Our main aim with this is to exclude major pathologies.

In the same sitting, we ask about the history of your symptoms and go through movement tests to best understand the issue. We also try to reassure patients, as we know pain is not just the result of damage – cognitive and emotional factors play a fundamental role, especially after a lot of time has passed since the symptoms began. A calm patient feels less pain and is more willing to move, because he has understood that feeling pain doesn’t necessarily mean that something is breaking down. Our specialist rehabilitation program continues with sessions aimed to work on the pain and the range of movement at the same time. To rehabilitate doesn’t only mean taking away pain – it also means making movement possible again and let people return to the life they had before the pathology took root.

Exercises are a fundamental part of the recovery.

Recurring back pain means your back’s “health reserve” is limited, and therefore the machine stops often. Exercises are like the fuel station that allows you to go on many miles without stopping.

For best results, exercises must be gradual; many patience don’t dose their energy well and this can lead to the development of new pains. The recovery plan must be step-by-step, keeping into account the patient’s capabilities overt time. If you tried other routes and did not find the solution, it may be that the approach was too passive and the physiotherapist’s manual work, or their instruments, was not accompanied by the correct movement program. As Americans say, “motion is the lotion”. If you want to finally solve your back pain, we await you at our office for a free evaluation.

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