Following on from last weeks Lower Back Pain Quiz, here’s the detail on the answers. This quiz is based on the latest scientific evidence on lower back pain.
1. If you saw a disc problem on your MRI you’d at least be certain of the cause of your back pain?
False. Many many people have disc tears, bulges, prolapses, degenerative changes with no pain at all.
2. An X-Ray will show you what’s causing your back pain?
False. Again, there’s very little correlation between X-Ray findings and lower back pain.
3. A scoliosis (twist in the spine) has to be severe before it is strongly related to back pain?
True. There’s no evidence that minor twists have an impact on symptoms.
4. People over 60 get more back pain than younger people?
False. It’s not as simple as that. Acute lower back pain is more common in the middle years; but long lasting (less disabling) lower back pain is more common in older folk.
5. “Correct” lifting decreases the risk of injury to the lower back?
False. There is little evidence that manual handling guidelines have reduced the frequency of lower back pain. However, that’s not to say that it isn’t beneficial; we’d recommend you stick to the guidance. It may just be that the reason the manual handling guidance hasn’t reduced the incidence of lower back pain is because people aren’t following it stringently.
6. People who are fitter experience less low back pain?
True. It’s a simple fact that increasing your levels of physical activity reduces your risk of lower back pain.
7. Back pain runs in families?
True. Bit of artistic license here – back pain runs in the human race, with 80% of all people suffering lower back pain at some time in their lives, so there’s a good chance it runs in your family. There’s also evidence that some lower back pain may indeed be hereditary.
8. Half of all older people who have no back pain have “spinal stenosis” (narrowing of the spinal canal) on MRI?
True. Just because you have an imperfect spine doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience pain.
9. Most lower back pain is due to lifting injury?
False. Lower back pain can be brought about by heavy lifting, but it’s much more likely to be caused by a number of factors.
10. The clearest thing about dealing with low back pain is how important it is to stay active?
True. See number 6!
11. “Manipulation” doesn’t help low back pain?
False. There’s good evidence that manipulation (as practised by a good osteopath!) can speed recovery – particularly from recent onset lower back pain.
I hope you’ve learnt something useful here – please contact us if you’d like more explanation/detail on any of it.