Unveiling the Myths and Truths About Back Pain

Unveiling the Myths and Truths About Back Pain

Introduction

Back pain is a common ailment affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Research indicates that approximately 80% of individuals will encounter back pain at some point. Understanding the facts about back pain is crucial in dispelling common myths and promoting effective treatment. Let’s delve into some of the prevalent misconceptions surrounding back pain and uncover the truth that can lead to a healthier back, emphasizing the role of a physical therapist.

Myth 1: Immediate Imaging is Necessary

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Despite common belief, the rush to undergo immediate imaging for back pain isn’t always the optimal course of action.

Why immediate imaging isn’t always necessary

In many instances, the cause of back pain, including medical conditions like spinal stenosis, can be precisely identified through thorough orthopedic testing. This approach ensures a precise diagnosis and aids in tailoring a more effective treatment plan.

Orthopedic testing and its role in diagnosing back pain

Orthopedic testing, crucial for evaluating musculoskeletal function, involves a series of physical examinations that precisely assess the physical aspects of back pain, including issues related to the spinal cord, sciatic nerve, and facet joints. This targeted approach allows for precise interventions, avoiding unnecessary imaging that may not contribute to a better understanding of the problem.

Myth 2: Primary Care Physician Should Be the First Point of Contact

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The immediate instinct to consult a primary care physician for back pain is widespread. However, exploring alternative initial steps, such as considering pain relief options, can often lead to more effective outcomes, particularly in addressing various pain symptoms.

Role of a primary care physician vs. a physical therapist in treating back pain

While primary care physicians play a crucial role in healthcare, they may not always be the most effective first point of contact for back pain, especially if it involves sharp pain. With their specialized knowledge of musculoskeletal health, physical therapists can offer more targeted treatments, promoting improved blood flow for better healing outcomes.

Benefits of seeing a physical therapist first

This proactive approach is particularly beneficial for individuals with underlying health conditions, ensuring personalized exercises and hands-on therapies that contribute to a faster recovery, specifically targeting issues related to the lumbar spine, spinal discs, and spinal nerves. This approach reduces the overall duration and impact of the pain.

Cost-effectiveness and results of direct physical therapy

Direct physical therapy can also be more cost-effective than multiple visits to various healthcare providers, especially when addressing non-specific low back pain. The focused approach of a physical therapist can yield quicker results, potentially saving both time and money in the long run. Embracing this pain of truth offers a practical and efficient solution for those seeking relief from back pain.

Myth 3: Rest is the Best Treatment

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Another widespread belief is that rest is the ultimate solution for back pain. However, this might not be the case in every scenario, especially when considering the impact on everyday activities and common triggers.

Why rest isn’t always the best course of action

Contrary to the age-old advice of resting for back pain, this approach may only sometimes be the most effective. Prolonged periods of inactivity can contribute to muscle weakness and stiffness, exacerbating the problem, particularly in the context of the spine’s need for shock absorbers and the support of the spinal column. Additionally, it can lead to potential tissue damage, making the pain worse.

Active treatments to facilitate healing and strengthen the back

Active treatments, such as specific exercises and physical therapy, can facilitate healing and strengthen the back. These interventions aim to address the root cause of the pain and promote long-term well-being, often proving more effective than relying solely on over-the-counter pain relievers.

Incorporating these into your routine can improve your ability to accomplish everyday tasks with greater ease, making them an essential part of comprehensive pain treatment, particularly for those dealing with chronic pain.

Importance of returning to physical activity or sport

Encouraging individuals to return to physical activity or sport, under proper guidance from a healthcare professional, is crucial for preventing future episodes of back pain, especially for those who have experienced severe pain. A gradual and supervised return helps build resilience and ensures the back is better equipped to handle stressors, promoting the health of surrounding tissues, including muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the facts about back pain is essential for effective management. Dispelling myths related to immediate imaging, the choice of healthcare professionals, and the role of rest leading to more informed decisions and, ultimately, a healthier back. When seeking relief, opting for evidence-based treatments ensures a more targeted and successful approach to managing and preventing back pain, allowing individuals to regain control over their daily living.

For personalized care and expert guidance, consider the benefits of spinal manipulation in Franklin County and postnatal physical therapy at Continuous Motion Physical Therapy.

FAQs

Q1: When is back pain serious?

A1: Back pain should be taken seriously if:

It is persistent and doesn’t improve over time:

  • This refers to ongoing discomfort that doesn’t show signs of relief despite rest or self-care.
  • Persistent pain may indicate an underlying issue that requires professional evaluation.
  • If the pain lingers for weeks without improvement, seeking medical advice becomes essential.

It worsens gradually or becomes more severe:

  • A gradual worsening or intensification of back pain suggests a potential progression or deteriorating condition.
  • Increased severity may indicate the need for a more thorough examination by a healthcare professional.

It is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness:

  • Additional symptoms suggest potential nerve involvement or other serious underlying problems.
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness may signify issues that require prompt medical attention.

Discover crucial facts about back pain and its warning signs for prompt and informed action. Seeking healthcare professional medical advice is crucial in such cases to ensure a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate management.

Q2: Why is back pain the worst?

A2: It could manifest as a sharp stab or a dull ache, but eventually, 8 out of 10 individuals will encounter back pain. Back pain can be especially challenging because it affects daily activities and diminishes overall quality of life.

The discomfort, coupled with its impact on mobility, makes low back pain when standing a challenging condition to endure. Postural stress during daily routines can exacerbate this discomfort, limiting the range of motion and complicating the experience of back pain, particularly when considering an individual’s medical history.

Q3: Who is most affected by back pain?

A3: Back pain does not discriminate and can affect people of all ages. Nearly 80% of adults will inevitably experience back pain at some point. However, risk factors such as a sedentary lifestyle and poor posture can increase the likelihood of experiencing back pain, including conditions like disc prolapses, degenerative conditions, ankylosing spondylitis, and other inflammatory conditions. For many, conservative therapy, including regular exercise and proper ergonomics, can contribute to prevention.

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Dr. Cameron Moore

PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, CSCS, Dip. Osteopractic

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Dr. Peyton Oules, PT, DPT Cert. DN

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Dr. Peyton Oules, physical therapist, is a Brewster, Washington native who grew up as a small-town athlete. During her high school sports career, she suffered from two ACL injuries which led her to pursue a career in physical therapy. 

She began her studies by earning her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Pre-PT at Eastern Washington University.  During her undergraduate studies, she spent much of her time playing volleyball and coaching at the high school level.  Dr. Oules continued her education to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University in Goodyear, Arizona.While in school, Dr. Oules became Certified in both Dry Needling and Myofascial Cupping.

Part of her clinical training included international travel to Sydney, Australia where she expanded her orthopedic skill set and had the opportunity to provide treatment for the athletes from the 2023 World Underwater Hockey Championships.

During her doctorate level studies, Dr. Oules learned the importance in making movement a lifestyle. She has a passion for sharing this knowledge with the community and getting her clients back to the activities they love.

Outside of the clinic Dr. Oules enjoys CrossFit®, hiking, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her dog, Rue. Some of her favorite adventures to date include hiking parts of the Grand Canyon and running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Sydney 10k!

Dr. Peyton Oules’ Credentials:
•           Physical Therapist (PT)
•           Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
•           Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)

Dr. Khristian McGinley, PT, DPT Cert. DN

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Dr. Khristian McGinley, physical therapist, grew up here in Phoenix, as a competitive softball player with a longtime passion for health and wellness. After sustaining an elbow injury in high school and attending PT herself, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career helping people recover from injuries and getting back to doing what they love. She eventually received her B.S in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in 2013, then earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University in 2017.

Dr. McGinley began her career with a passion in pediatrics and orthopedics, undergoing coursework to treat diagnoses such as torticollis, developmental delay, and toe walking. She also became certified in Dry Needling in 2017, and since then has been additionally trained in Dry Needling for Pelvic Rehabilitation. After the challenging birth of her first child, she developed a passion for treating the pregnant and postpartum population. She became specialty training in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation in 2021 and since then has focused her practice on helping moms achieve pain free pregnancy, peaceful childbirth, and complete postpartum recovery. She specializes in diagnoses such as urinary incontinence, diastases recti, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. McGinley enjoys hiking, running, camping, weight lifting, and playing slow pitch softball. She loves spending as much time as she can outside with her husband and two children.

Dr. Khristian McGinley’s Credentials:

  • ​Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)
  • Specialty-trained in Pelvic Floor Therapy

Dr. Meredith Wall, PT, DPT FAFS, Cert. DN

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Dr. Meredith Wall, physical therapist, grew up as a competitive athlete in basketball, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball. After sustaining an ankle injury and going to rehab as a young athlete, she instantly fell in love with learning about sports injuries and rehabilitation. This led her to major in Exercises Science at Grand Valley State University. After she graduated in 2010, she immediately pursued physical therapy to ultimately achieve her lifelong goals of becoming a physical therapist. She earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Grand Valley State University in 2013, graduating as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society recognizing individuals with outstanding GPA in a college graduate program.

Dr. Wall continued her educational pathway through the Gray Institute receiving a fellowship in Applied Functional Science (FAFS). A FAFS is only obtained by a select number of practitioners, who deliver optimal care through the diagnosis and treatment of functional human movement. She also became Certified in Dry Needling (Cert. DN) in 2017, is trained in the McKenzie Method to treat spinal pain, and most recently has become specialized in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation. This specialty area allows her to treat women across the lifespan dealing with incontinence, diastasis recti, pelvic pain, and pain during or after pregnancy.

Dr. Wall’s special interests include diagnosing and treating active patients across the lifespan to help them return to optimal function. In her spare time, she enjoys Crossfit®, running, coaching youth sports, and traveling with her husband and three sons.

Dr. Meredith Wall’s Credentials:

  • ​Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Fellow of Applied Functional Science (FAFS)
  • Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)
  • Specialty-trained in Pelvic Floor Therapy

Dr. Cameron Moore, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, CSCS, Dip. Osteopractic

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Dr. Cameron Moore, physical therapist and co-owner, has always been very active with sports and activities starting with competitive motocross racing up to a semi-professional level and being a scholarship athlete in track and field competing at the division 1 level in college at Eastern Washington University in the triple jump. Cameron became interested in the profession of physical therapy after having knee surgery in high school and seeing the inter-workings of the profession. He pursued his bachelors degree in Exercise Science before moving to Phoenix to earn his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from Franklin Pierce University.

He then began specialization courses for spinal manipulation (Spinal Manipulation Institute) and dry needling (Dry Needling Institute). This lead Cameron in to becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapist (FAAOMPT) through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT) and earned a Diploma of Osteopractic®, a distinction and training that only a small percentage of physical therapist have completed.

Dr. Moore continues to be very involved with motocross riding, Crossfit®, Olympic weight lifting, running and an overall active lifestyle with his Wife (Michelle) and their Vizsla (Parker).

Dr. Cameron Moore’s Credentials

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Certified in Dry Needling (Cert DN)
  • Certified in Spinal Manipulation (Cert SMT)
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Diploma in Osteopractic® (Dip Osteopractic)
  • Fellow Of The American Academy Of Manual Physical Therapist (FAAOMPT)
  • American Academy of Manipulative Therapy Fellow (AAMT)
  • Crossfit® Level 1 Certified (CF-L1)
  • Crossfit® Mobility Certified
  • USA Track and Field Level 1 Coach

Dr. Michelle Moore, PT, DPT FAAOMPT, Dip. Osteopractic

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Dr. Michelle Moore, physical therapist and co-owner, grew up as a competitive gymnast and developed a passion for healthy living from a young age. Her collegiate studies in Health Education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and athletic background influenced her to combine her passions and pursue a career in physical therapy. She earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University in 2013.

Dr. Moore continued her educational pathway through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy where she earned her Diploma Osteopractic® (Dip. Osteopractic) and became Certified in Dry Needling (Cert. DN), and Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT). From 2016-2017 Dr. Moore completed the rigorous coursework to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FAAOMPT), a distinction held by only a fraction of the profession.

Dr. Moore’s special interests include treating active individuals and returning them to the activities that they love. In her spare time she enjoys Crossfit®, Olympic Weightlifting, mountain biking, hiking, and traveling with her husband, Cameron, and dog, Parker.

Dr. Michelle Moore’s Credentials:

  • ​Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Fellow of American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT)
  • Diploma in Osteopractic® (Dip. Osteopractic)
  • Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)
  • Certified Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT)
  • Crossfit® Mobility Certified