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Back Pain Myths
There is a lot of misinfomation on back pain. Here are three common back pain myths.
Back Pain Myth #1 – Lying in bed is good for your back
Unfortunately, lying in bed for excessive periods can in fact actually cause back pain. When you lie down the discs between your vertebrae attract water and swell. By the morning, disc bending stresses are increased by up to 300% and ligament stresses by 80%! This is why you are taller in the mornings and often most stiff.
Throughout the day, as we go back to vertical, the excess fluid begin to seep out and we return to normal height. This normal swelling and seeping is how the disc obtains nutrition. While 8 hours in bed is healthy, much longer than that can cause increased swelling and exacerbate disc pain.
Back Pain Myth #2 – Your back pain is the result of tight hamstrings
Research shows that in most cases tight hamstrings are in fact a result of back pain rather than cause. The tightness is it is likely protective in nature – either tightening as direct response to back pain or compensating for a lack of stability in the hips or trunk. In most cases, once the back pain subsides the hamstring tightness decreases. However, right to left asymmetry of hamstring tightness has been found to have a mild influence on back pain, particularly in athletes.
Back Pain Myth #3 – Bend from your knees not your back
Although most people are told “lift with your knees and not your back” this is not how we are designed to move. What we should really be told is “lift with your hips not your back”. With deep sockets and surrounded by extremely strong musculature the hips are perfectly designed to lift and move heavy objects.
Watch any Olympic lifter or healthy toddler picking up a heavy toy and you will see them move in this same pattern. A successful Olympic lifter must lift this way as the high volume of training and high loads would otherwise lead to injury. A healthy baby lifts this way as this is the movement pattern pre-programmed in all our brains. No baby learns how to move, it is inbuilt. This is how we evolved to move and we continue to do so unless this program is corrupted by outside influence e.g. sedentary lifestyles, injury, repetitive movement, trauma etc.
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This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more infomation about Steffen click here.