By Jesse Cannone Creator of the International Best-Seller “Lose the Back Pain”
Are you Making These 7 Back Pain Mistakes?
When it comes to back pain, the last thing you want to do is hinder your own recovery. Yet people in pain often make a number of mistakes, the origins of which can generally be traced back to an erroneous mindset.
Jesse Cannone of the Healthy Back Institute lists 7 mistakes people with back pain often make.
“Mistake #1: Continuing to do what doesn’t work”
Pain treatment is not completed overnight, but you should see some kind of progress. Cannone recommends discontinuing a program if you do not see gains within three months.
Monthly evaluations are a great way to monitor progress or lack thereof, assure that your diagnosis was correct and promote the mindset that a strategy is in place for you.
“Mistake #2: Not dealing with pain the first time”
This one is tricky; not everyone who feels back pain should rush off to a specialist. The trick here is whether or not you can clearly identify the type and cause of pain.
If the pain goes beyond understandable muscle soreness, however, you are likely experiencing the first sign of a developing condition. As with most physical woes, back problems are easier to deal with when they first arise than a few years down the line. If you are experiencing an unfamiliar or recurring pain, it’s time to do your research and talk to a medical professional.
“Mistake #3: Thinking you’re too fit to have back pain”
Being fit only inhibits back problems if you are extremely aware of muscle imbalances and work to avoid them. Imbalances occur when one muscle group is used or exercised more than the group opposite of it (front-to-back or side-to-side) that performs the opposite function (like straightening versus bending the knee). The more developed muscle of the set is chronically tight and exerts a pull on the ligaments, tendons and muscles around it.
From people who exercise moderately to professional athletes, muscle imbalances are easy to find. Sports require constant repetitive motions that build up certain muscles and neglect others. Many people who exercise moderately at home do not know about muscle imbalances, so they work for a 6-pack stomach without developing the other core muscles.
No matter how fit you are, it is possible to have a muscle imbalance lurking in your body somewhere.
“Mistake #4: Treating only the symptoms”
Eliminating chronic pain through these methods is always a temporary fix that will leave you coming back for more. Meanwhile, the underlying cause of pain may be getting worse. A small muscle imbalance can begin to distort posture; postural distortion causes back pain and reinforces the muscle imbalance. Imbalances get bigger and multiply in number, causing the pain to become more severe. Stronger drugs are needed to soothe it over time.
That example illustrates the inefficacy of treating the symptoms and not the cause. Unless you know the cause of your pain and work to correct it, you’re setting yourself up for treatment failure.
“Mistake #5: Not understanding that back pain is a process”
Unless you’ve suffered from a traumatic injury, then your back problem did not develop overnight. Discs take time to degenerate or bulge, vertebrae take time to come out of alignment and muscle imbalances take time to develop and distort the body.
This means that 1) there is no overnight cure and 2) after your condition is treated, you’ll have to be mindful of the cause and work to prevent its recurrence for the rest of your life.
“Mistake #6: The “I’ve Tried Everything” Syndrome”
According to Cannone, most medical professionals do not test for muscle imbalances. This would involve a head-to-toe assessment to identify what muscle groups are compensating for weaker groups. This can be seen in both static and dynamic posture by a trained eye. Finding a specialist who will check for muscle imbalances is a much better last resort than surgery or resignation.
“Mistake #7: Not taking control”
“Make the decision to be active in your own rehab,” says Cannone. You know more about your body and care more about your health than anyone else. Being a partner in your treatment rather than a mere patient means educating yourself on the body, conditions and treatment options. Those who go this route will tend to see faster and longer-lasting results.
Avoiding these common mistakes will keep you from sabotaging your own recovery.