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Common Back Pain Questions Answered

By Steve Hefferon

Millions of people struggle with back pain and fail to get lasting relief and the primary reason is a lack of knowledge and understanding about back pain.

In our work with over 20,000 back pain sufferers here at The Healthy Back Institute, we have identified several questions that are common among nearly all back pain sufferers. And unfortunately, for many, these people continue to struggle with back pain because their questions never get answered or they get the wrong information. So the purpose of this article is to educate and inform anyone suffering from back pain by answering these common questions and by giving specific recommendations and actions to take.

Question #1 - Is my excess weight causing my back pain?
While excess body weight is a factor, it by itself typically isn't enough to create a condition that would cause back pain. Excess body weight can worsen a pre-existing condition and can also make recovery more difficult.

Also, it's important to understand that if you are overweight it's very likely that your muscles are out of balance. When your muscles are out of balance, it forces your body to function and move in an unbalanced way and this places uneven pressure, strain and wear tear on your body. And it's this process that is responsible for creating any conditions or physical dysfunctions that are causing the pain. Unfortunately, most people aren't even aware when this is happening with their body.

Action to take: Don't worry so much about your weight right now. First focus on eliminating your back pain by identify the muscle imbalances that are throwing your body out of balance and work on improving and correcting them. Then, once your back is feeling better you can focus more on losing weight.

Question #2 - I've tried everything but nothing has worked, what should I do?
First off, while it may seem like you've exhausted every possible treatment, it's not likely that you've tried everything. So unless you've given up and plan on living the rest of your life in pain, you need to make the decision to be open-minded and continue to identify and experiment with other available treatment options. But, before you try any other treatments, it's important that you understand why what you've already tried hasn't worked.

The reason nearly all back pain treatments fail to deliver long-term relief is because they treat just the symptoms and fail to address the actual, underlying cause. For example, let's talk about back surgery. While removing a piece of a herniated disc may, if you're lucky, reduce or eliminate your pain, the fact is it didn't deal with what caused the disc to herniate in the first place.

In fact, a study published in the June 2004 issue of Spine, an international journal for the study of the spine, found that 40% of people who underwent back surgery had no decrease in their pain even though their doctor/surgeon had assured them of the results. So in order for you to get long-term, lasting relief you need to identify and address the underlying cause of your pain.

Action to take: Identify the underlying cause of your pain by identifying the muscle imbalances that are creating your physical dysfunctions and conditions. Make sure any treatment you are given or perform addresses both the symptoms (condition and pain) and the cause (muscle imbalances and dysfunctions).

Question #3 - My doctor told me not to exercise, what should I do?
Find a new doctor. Too many research studies have shown that people with back pain who avoid exercise and activity, end up suffering longer and have a more difficult time getting relief.

While you may need to rest for a few days initially to let things settle down, after that you will get better results by staying active because by continuing to move you keep your blood circulating and your muscle active, which will prevent them from getting weaker. But that's not enough. Even though staying active may help; it's not enough to get rid of the underlying cause of the pain. In order to do that, you must identify and address your imbalances and dysfunctions.

And the generic exercises that almost every back pain sufferer receives from their healthcare professional, may or may not help - it can even worsen the condition. And the reason is, these exercises do not address the specific muscle imbalances and dysfunctions that are responsible for their pain.

Action to take: If your doctor or healthcare professional hasn't taken the time to educate about the effect of muscle imbalances and importance of performing targeted and specific, corrective exercises and stretches, it's time to look elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the number of healthcare professionals who are educated and trained in the art of identifying and addressing muscle imbalances is small and finding one can often be difficult. If you have trouble finding someone in your area, please feel free to contact us here at The Healthy Back Institute by calling 800-216-4908 and we'll do our best to help you.

If you're a back pain sufferer, you well know that these are just a few of the many questions that you may have. The fastest way for you to get lasting relief from back pain is to become an expert on it and your body and you do that be educating yourself. I strongly encourage you to learn as much as you can about back pain, how it develops and the various treatment options that are available. And lastly, stay focused and don't give up.

Article courtesy of Steve Hefferon, CMT of The Healthy Back Institute. You can take advantage of the many available free resources on their website by visiting Lose the Back
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