Back pain can take a serious toll on the body. It’s one of the most common reasons we miss work, and one half of all working Americans say they experience back pain symptoms each year.
Though the road to a healthy back isn’t always a simple one, treatments ranging from medication to physical therapy to surgery are available and usually effective, says Matthew Berchuck, M.D., a spine surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie.
Did you know? It is estimated that 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
And getting help starts with understanding the truth about your back pain. Here, Dr. Berchuck helps us separate fact from fiction.
Myth: Bed rest is the answer to a backache
Fact: “Years ago, people thought staying in bed for weeks was the thing to do, but today we know that no more than 24 to 48 hours is recommended because of the deconditioning that happens as a result of prolonged inactivity,” Dr. Berchuck says.
Myth: You can only have back pain if you’ve been in an accident
Fact: Though lots of back injuries do start with trauma, back pain also can be caused by arthritis and tumors, Dr. Berchuck says.
Myth: Back pain means there’s a problem with your spine
Fact: Back pain also can be caused by a host of other conditions that have nothing to do with the spine.
“Kidney infections, tumors, ulcers, ovarian cysts and pancreatitis are just a few of the things that can present us with back pain,” Dr. Berchuck explains.
Myth: Spine surgery doesn’t work and just leads to other surgeries
Fact: Most patients who undergo spine surgery do very well and are able to resume the activity level they had before surgery, Dr. Berchuck says.
“Our understanding of spinal disease has increased greatly. Thanks to advances in both diagnostic and therapeutic technology, we have a much greater ability to diagnose and treat spinal disorders of all kinds.”
Do you know your back? Take our quiz at BaylorHealth.com/BackPain to find out.