1. Rest cures back pain

Actually, in all but the most serious cases, sufferers of back pain recover much more quickly when staying as active as possible. Bedrest is worse than useless and most patients are advised to stick as closely as possible to their normal daily activities.

2. Taking pain killers masks the pain and leads to more damage.

Most pain is not helpful and there is little point suffering it if you don’t have to! Taking painkillers or anti-inflammatories at the recommended dose and frequency and staying active is a much better route to a speedy recovery than losing sleep and getting depressed. It is easier to prevent pain from building up than to treat it once it’s there.

3. Back pain should be treated with heat.

Not necessarily. If you sprained your ankle you’d apply icepacks so why is a sprained back any different? If you suspect that there is any actual damage to the tissues in your back then icing for a few minutes every few hours is more likely to help than a hot water bottle. It is especially important not to apply heat if you are taking anti-inflammatories ( e.g. ibuprofen, Diclofenac) as it will counteract the effects of the medication. Your osteopath can advise you what to do.

4. Back pain happens because bones ‘move out of place’.

The bones of your spine are very firmly attached together by a web of tough ligaments that only allow slight bending in every direction. These are designed to preserve the alignment of the spine and protect the delicate spinal cord that is contained within the bony tube of the spine. Unless you suffer a major trauma the bones are likely to stay put!

5. Osteopaths ‘click your bones back in’.

See above. In fact the manipulation sometimes used by osteopaths is usually used to free up a joint that has become stiff and to restore normal function. The click you sometimes hear is caused by gas being released into the joint space (the same phenomenon as when people crack their knuckles).

© Justine Knowles 2018