Low back pain (LBP) leads the world as the primary cause of disability, frequently coupling with expensive, ineffective, and occasionally harmful care. But what propels this disability and substandard care? Unhelpful beliefs about LBP often correlate with higher pain levels, increased disability, more work absences, escalated medication use, and more healthcare seeking. Not only those suffering from LBP, but also people without it commonly hold these unhelpful beliefs. Media, industry groups, and well-intentioned clients can often reinforce such beliefs.
10 thinks you should know about Lower Back Pain
- Rarely Dangerous – LBP is not a serious life-threatening medical condition.
- Ageing – Most episodes of LBP improve and does not get worse as we age.
- Tissue – A negative mindset, fear-avoidance behaviour, negative recovery expectations, and poor pain coping behaviours are more strongly associated with persistent pain than is tissue damage.
- Scans – Scans do not determine prognosis of the current episode of back pain, the likelihood of future LBP disability, and do not improve clinical outcomes.
- Sore.. But Safe – Graduated exercise and movement in all directions is safe and healthy for the spine.
- Posture – Spine posture during, standing and lifting does not predict low back pain or its persistence.
- Strength – Keep trunk / core muscles strong through resistance training, yoga, pilates and other exercise.
- Loading and Bending – Spine movement and loading is safe and builds structural resilience when it is graded.
- Pain – Pain flareups are more related to changes in activity, stress and mood rather than structural damage.
- Care – Effective care is relatively cheap and safe. This includes:
- Patient-centred education that fosters a positive mindset;
- Coaching people to optimise their physical health through resistance training, stretching, exercise and leisure activities;
- Healthy sleeping habits;
- Maintaining healthy body weight; and
- Remaining in work.
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