Professionals bust a few myths about back pain

Leading city physiotherapist Helen Preston (left) and her team at the mysthbusting back pain campaign on Bridge Street.
Leading city physiotherapist Helen Preston (left) and her team at the mysthbusting back pain campaign on Bridge Street.
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Members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy set up shop on Bridge Street, Peterborough (September 14) to promotoe the ‘mythbusters’ back pain awareness campaign.

The physiotherapists were joined by Councillor Diane Lamb, cabinet member for public health at Peterborough Council, who took the opportunity to learn more about common misunderstandings about back pain and what the latest evidence says is best for your back.

Physiotherapist Ben Muir of Prestons Health advises a member of the public on back pain.

Physiotherapist Ben Muir of Prestons Health advises a member of the public on back pain.

The team of physiotherapists spent the day distributing hundreds of information leaflets and offering back care advice to passers-by with an aim to bust the four biggest myths to help tackle what remains the leading cause of disability and sickness absence from work.

The myths are:

Moving will make my back pain worse

I should avoid exercise, especially weight training

A scan will show me exactly what is wrong

Pain equals damage

An Opinium survey, conducted for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, showed nearly four in 10 people believed a scan would show them what was wrong, including 60 per cent of those who had ongoing back trouble.

The reality is that while a scan may sometimes reveal the problem, most often it won’t.

Additionally, even people without back pain may have changes in their spine and seeing changes on a scan could lead to the same fear that causes exercise-avoidance, potentially making the problem worse.

Helen Preston, a director of Prestons Health, said: “We had a fascinating day talking with a wide range of the public surrounding the back pain myths that exist in society. It highlighted to us that there is a lot of work to be done to demystify some commonly held beliefs which influence how people recover from a back pain episode, but the campaign was well received and it was a highly enjoyable day.”

Councillor Lamb added: “Many people will have experienced back pain and understand the effect it can have on your daily life. This campaign helps to raise awareness of what is good for your back as well as dispelling some misconceptions.

“Physical exercise is important to help ease back pain, and getting active is this month’s key focus as part of our Healthy Peterborough campaign.”

Back pain globally causes more disability than any other condition.

In the UK, it is a leading cause of sickness absence and estimated to cost the economy £5bn a year.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.csp.org.uk/mythbusters