6 back pain myths debunked

Back pain is a very common issue that a lot of people endure. Because of its widespread nature, it's easy for misinformation and myths about back pain to spread rapidly. Here are six myths about back pain and why they're wrong:

Bed rest is key to relief
While bed rest can provide some relief, it may not be the best option. According to a 2010 Cochrane review, activity, like exercise, has a better chance of relieving your back pain than bed rest. Activity not only helps loosed up muscles, but it helps strengthen them, which will reduce future back pain risk.

Bed rest is a good alternative, but there are several other factors to consider. If your posture is off or your mattress doesn't provide adequate support, it may end up worsening the pain.

Always sit up straight
While sitting, it is important to keep good posture, which means sitting up straight over slouching. However, sitting for too long can still result in back pain. Break up your day by getting on your feet. Talk a walk or do simple tasks, like reading or talking on the phone, while standing.

Weight gain is bad for your heart, not your back
While weight gain is bad for your heart, it's also bad for your back, especially added torso weight. Extra pounds in the gut increase strain on your lower back and may result in an excessive inward curvature of the lower spine.

Don't lift heavy things
Whether it's helping a friend move or weights at the gym, everyone's going to be lifting heavy things at some point. Simply doing so isn't going to result in back pain. Rather, it's how you do the lifting.

When lifting, bending down from the waist and lifting with your back is how you'll cause pain. The proper way is to keep your back straight and lift with your legs. Squat down in front of the object and push up with your legs. Also avoid twisting.

Obviously, you should know your limits when lifting. Even when lifting properly, straining to lift too much weight will likely result in pain or injury.

Firm mattresses offer the best support
Your body, even when lying on your back, isn't completely flat. Mattresses that are too firm can result in awkward sleeping posture, putting stress on the heaviest points of your body, like your hips and shoulders. Likewise, a mattress that is too soft causes you to sink in, which limits movement and can also lead to pain. The best choice is finding a balance between the firm and soft.

Medication is more effective than hands-on therapy
According to a 2009 Consumer Reports survey, respondents who experienced back pain and have never had back surgery rated hands-on treatments as "very helpful" in relieving their pain. Chiropractic care was the number one favored treatment.

Medication was also helpful, according to the report, but to a lesser degree, and it was endorsed by fewer people.

If you've been suffering from chronic lower back aches and are looking for some relief, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor right away.