Persistent myths about back and neck pain can sometimes prevent people from getting treatment right away, or even make some problems worse. Such pain myths are often based on old adages passed down from previous generations, or lingering beliefs that have since been proven false. Here, the trusted Los Angeles spine surgeons from The Spine Institute dispel a few common myths.
No Pain, No Gain
The desire to “push through the pain” may be a natural inclination if you’re a seasoned athlete, or even a weekend warrior, but doing so can make some back and neck pain worse. Most pain related to physical activity is due to muscle strain, so taking a timeout to rest or modifying your workout routine for a few days is likely to help.
Back and Neck Pain Means Plenty of Rest
Some initial rest after experiencing back and neck pain is good, especially with mild muscle stiffness or strain. Spending days in bed nursing such pain, however, is likely to weaken muscles and prolong the recovery process. Instead, physical therapy with supervised exercises is the better route to take.
If No Physical Evidence of Pain Can Be Found, It’s Not Real
Pain is highly subjective, and only you know what you’re experiencing at any given moment. Therefore, the lack of a physical reason for back or neck pain likely means that other contributing issues like depression, stress, or poor sleeping habits are playing a role in the pain you’re feeling.
Being Honest About Your Level of Pain Means Surgery Is Likely
The trend in pain management these days is non-surgical spine treatments first with surgery reserved as a last resort. Being honest about the neck or back pain you’re experiencing doesn’t increase the odds of being urged to have surgery. It will, however, result in a treatment plan more likely to provide better relief.
Not all back and neck pain myths are entirely false. Heat application, for instance, can worsen inflammation around joints and ligaments, so ice tends to work best for immediate relief. However, alternating heat and ice applications can be beneficial a few days after the initial injury occurred. When in doubt about what steps to take while experiencing back and neck pain, check with your doctor.
The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration in Santa Monica is home to a team of highly qualified spine specialists who can determine the source of your back or neck pain and help you decide which treatment option is right for you. To learn more about The Spine Institute or possible treatments, including conservative methods, spinal fusion surgery, and minimally invasive spine surgery, please call (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.