People have numerous incorrect ideas about back pain and its causes. Believing them can be misleading at best and dangerous, even life-threatening, at worst. The following are 4 common misconceptions about back pain, along with the real facts you need to know:

1. Drugs Are the Best Treatment for Back Pain

It is true that drugs can effectively provide temporary relief from back pain. However, drugs do not actually resolve whatever underlying condition you have that is causing the back pain to start with.

Drugs can also bring about many alarming and harmful side effects that may lead to even worse health problems in time. Some medications are addictive and should be used on a short-term basis only. While pain medications do have their place, they are far from being the best possible treatment for back pain.

The best treatment, then, is to identify the actual cause of your pain and work to correct or eliminate that.

In the meanwhile, exercise and osteopathic manipulations are often excellent strategies for coping with back pain. In particular, swimming on your back is a therapeutic exercise that can often help to relieve back pain. Your osteopath can recommend an exercise therapy programme that is likely to help speed the resolution of your back pain.

2. This Exercise Is Hurting My Back! I Must Stop Immediately.

Some physical discomfort is completely normal when you begin a new exercise programme. This is especially true if you’ve been sedentary for a long period of time before you begin doing the exercises. The pain you’re experiencing may simply be the result of formerly inactive muscles protesting that you’re now using them all of a sudden. This is normal and is probably nothing to worry about. Some muscle soreness is usually not a compelling reason to stop exercising altogether; but, perhaps you’ll want to slow down a bit.

On the other hand, when you begin a new exercise programme, it is possible to overexert and injure yourself. If you’ve been sedentary for quite some time prior to beginning to exercise, we urge you to seek support from a trained professional as you get started with your programme.

We recommend that you make your GP aware of any new exercise programme you embark on. It’s also beneficial to seek qualified help from a specialist, particularly if you’re elderly or have been completely sedentary in the recent past.

Depending on the situation, your GP may think it’s ideal to make a referral to the specialist who would be best suited to help you identify and resolve the source of your back pain during exercise. But, please be aware that you do not need a referral from your GP to see us if you are a private patient; please feel free to book a consultation directly.

3. X-rays Are Always Necessary for Proper Diagnosis of the Cause of Back Pain

X-rays are not always necessary and are not recommended as the first step in diagnosing the cause of back pain. The first step we take is discussing the pain you’re experiencing to get a clearer understanding of the type of pain you’re feeling and what triggers it. Next, we perform a physical examination.

X-rays only show us what your bones look like. They can’t give us much in the way of insight as to the status of your soft tissues including your nerves, discs and ligaments. A physical examination may reveal nerve damage or other issues that are not necessarily associated with your bones. In some cases, a CT scan or an MRI is likely to be more helpful than x-rays would be. But in many cases, we’re able to determine the likeliest causes of your back pain without resorting to any such test methods. We’ll only use x-rays and other tests when they are truly medically necessary.

4. I’m Just Going to Ignore My Back Pain Because It’s Probably Nothing Major

It’s not safe to simply assume anything about back pain. While musculoskeletal problems are some of the most frequent causes of back pain, they are not the only possible causes. Back pain can also be a warning sign of lung cancer, kidney problems and other life-threatening ailments unrelated to the musculoskeletal system. If you’re experiencing back pain, take it seriously and get a proper diagnosis for the underlying causes. Seeing your GP is a smart first step.

If you’re able to confirm that musculoskeletal issues are, indeed, to blame for your back pain, seeing an osteotherapist would most likely prove to be beneficial as a next step.

Back pain is one of our major specialties. We’ve had a high rate of success in helping our patients to resolve it. If you’re experiencing back pain, we invite you to book a consultation with us.

Paying for Your Osteopathy Sessions

There are instances where osteopathy might be paid for by Work Cover, DVA or motor vehicle insurance. In circumstances where chronic disease is the reason for your back pain, Medicare might possibly contribute benefits for a limited number of osteopathy sessions. You’ll typically need an osteopathy referral from your GP in these situations.

If you’re visiting us as a private patient, do not feel obligated to seek a referral. Please feel free to book your osteopathy consultation with us directly.

If you aren’t already a member of a private health fund, we recommend shopping around to find the best value on cover that will meet your unique healthcare needs. There are many places where you can compare health insurance policies available from private insurers and make an informed decision.

We hope this information is helpful to you as you seek to understand and / or resolve back pain. If your back is hurting you, contact us today or book online to make an appointment.

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