If you’re older than 40 and are reading this article, chances are high that you’ve had back discomfort at least once in your lifetime. In reality about four in five sufferers are affected by back pain. For many people, it’s an ongoing battle each year.

The first thing to be aware of is that back discomfort is common. It’s difficult to manage the daily stressors that lives in the modern world place upon our spine. It’s not our nature to be seated for hours every day, or hunched over our electronic devices. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations regarding pain-free living rather, we should be looking for methods to manage our own back discomfort.

Remember, I earn my living helping people recover from crippling back pain. But that doesn’t mean that I do not want you to be suffering.

Three ways we’re doing back wrong treatment for pain.

Instant fixes and passive modality

Dependence on simple fixes or passive methods is what most people use to address their back discomfort. This is also the most common reason for why back pain is a constant source of. A passive mode of treatment is one that you do to yourself instead of something you perform on your own. It’s when you go someplace, lay on a couch and get some sort of treatment. It could be chiropractic care massage or acupuncture, and even surgical procedures and injections. You don’t play a part in the treatment and it’s entirely passive.

It’s not like I’m saying there’s anything wrong with these methods. They can be very effective in easing the symptoms of back discomfort, particularly muscles that are tight and spasmatic. (I suffer from back discomfort and receive one massage every month.) However, they shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone treatment. They must form part of a extensive, holistic approach to solving back discomfort at the source. Furthermore, you’ll discover that the relief that you receive from passive techniques is almost always only temporary. If your pain keeps returning back is a clear indicator that you’re missing something. Do not get back treatments for pain that aren’t correct using passive techniques.

Then letting MRI’s make the final decision

The medical profession typically determines the cause of the cause of your back discomfort using images. If you’ve experienced back discomfort for a long time and, especially, when you’ve tried physical therapy, your doctor will recommend the use of an MRI in order to “see what’s happening” in your spine. The issue is that what you see on your MRI isn’t always correlated with the issue that’s causing your back discomfort. In reality, 60% of the times, what you’ll find on your MRI does not have anything to do with the root of your pain.

For example, your MRI might show a bulging disc in your spine. Did you realize that bulging discs are common and are a natural part of you get older? It is possible to have two individuals with the same disc bulging when they have an MRI and the other will suffer none back discomfort. Why? because the cause of back discomfort is more complex than the anatomy of your body. Research has proven that 70-80% percent of back pain is caused by limitations in your movement – which is influenced by your daily habits and how you move, not the structural changes that occur in your spine. If your doctor let the results of your MRI determine the treatment plan and then recommends surgery to remove the bulging disc, which isn’t at all the root of your primary back issue, you’ve only squandered a surgical procedure however, you’ve also wasted time not dealing with the actual reason for your pain. Let MRI guide your treatment strategy is among the most frequently overlooked methods of doing back treatments for pain that aren’t correct.

The incorrect exercises

One of the biggest issues I encounter in treating back pain is that it is not specific generalized exercises intended to build your strength and possibly even target the core area – but that’s prior to the actual issue being taken care of.

About 90% of the times, back pain is due to a lack of mobility in back pain. It is caused by a lack of mobility in your spinal joints (vertebrae) that cause irritation to the surrounding structures of your spine like discs, nerves, and ligaments. What we have observed is that these limitations in mobility are able to be lifted by extremely specific movements, in precisely defined directions, with a particular frequency throughout the daytime. When the restriction in your spine is gone and you’re moving freely you are able to do any type of exercise you like. This is when and strengthening the core such as can be beneficial. Since a strong core can help to prevent future back discomfort episodes (but it won’t heal an existing back discomfort).

To determine which action you should be doing to relieve your back discomfort, you will need help from a professional. But the good thing is once you’ve identified the movement that helps relieve your back pain, you are able to repeat it over and over to treat the issue at your own pace. However, generalized exercises, if performed too quickly is another major reason we’re doing back pain treatment wrong.

If you’ve been struggling with back discomfort for longer than you ought to I hope this info can help you identify which areas you’ve been misled. It’s worth seeking assistance from an back specialist who focuses on corrective, prescriptive movements to help you recover and avoid quick fixes generalized exercises and MRI’s.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and is a writer in the Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, or request free seat in her upcoming Back Pain & Sciatica Masterclass, email her at [email protected] or call 603-605-0402.