Back and neck pain facts

When I have back pain I should go to bed and rest

FACT- When suffering with back pain you may think the best thing to do is rest in bed for days until the pain has reduced.  Although a small amount of rest during the day may be good for you, the best thing to do is carry on with normal activities as mush as possible.  This will be made easier by taking suitable painkillers, seek advice from your pharmacist, health professional or doctor.

I can’t return to work or sports until I am completely pain free

FACT- Activity is good for the body and your spine in particular.  Work will not be bad for you and you will not damage your spine by returning to work.  However you may still experience some pain whilst participating in work or sport related activities but this tends to improve with time.  Keep moving and follow the advice from your health professional or the PhysioHey self help section.

My back pain must be something serious like cancer

FACT – Back pain is usually caused by a strain or sprain of the spinal muscles or ligaments.  Only approximately 1% of people presenting with back pain have something potentially serious causing the pain.  Your health professional will ask you a series of detailed questions which will enable them to ascertain if your pain is anything more than a sprain or strain.

I have had back pain for a few months; this must mean there is something seriously wrong.

FACT – Back pain tends to run in good and bad periods which is entirely normal. If you are worried about how your back pain is progressing visit your GP or contact your local MSK Service

I have been told I have arthritis in my spine, does this mean my spine is crumbling?

FACT – No, your spine is not crumbling.  Arthritis is often used to describe ‘wear and tear’ or may use the medical term ‘spondylosis’ but they mean the same thing.  Both terms describe the aging process of bones and joints in the same way as hair goes grey and skin wrinkles, bones and joints age also and this is arthritis.

I have had a number of tests carried out by my doctor which were all normal, does this mean I am imagining my pain?

FACT – Definitely Not! The tests were performed to check for specific diseases or conditions and if the result was negative then it simply means you do not have the condition that specific test identifies and it does not your pain isn’t real.

I need an x-ray to diagnose my back pain or sciatica.

FACT – No, x-rays are not very good at providing the cause of back pain, other than arthritis which most of us have as we grow old.  PhysioHey Health professionals request x-rays and scans only when clinically appropriate and works uses guidelines based on best evidence that are agreed by consultants from Orthopaedics, Neurosurgery and Radiology.

If I have back pain or sciatica, will I need an MRI scan?

FACT – MRI scans do show a clear picture of the spines bones, discs, joints and nerves.  However, this level of detail is usually only required when your health professional thinks there may be a need for surgery.