Making sure you have credible information in regards to back and neck pain is essential to improving your chances for recovery.

See Common Causes of Back Pain and Neck Pain

The portion of your spine that comprises your neck is referred to as the cervical spine.
Watch:
Spine Anatomy Interactive Video

With this in mind, allow us to clear up four common myths about neck pain and back pain:

See The Myths and Reality of Back Pain and Back Problems

Article continues below

Myth 1: Rest is the best way to treat my pain

Reality: A short period of bed rest may reduce acute neck or back pain, but it is typically advised to limit this period to no more than two days. Any longer and you run the risk of actually increasing your pain.

See Myths about Treatment for Back Pain and Back Problems

Additionally, long-term bed rest or extended periods of physical inactivity lead to muscle stiffness and atrophy. This can result in a frustrating cycle, wherein inactivity increases your pain; and increased pain encourages inactivity.

See Exercise and Back Pain

For most back and neck conditions, physicians recommend a long-term rehabilitation program that includes physical therapy and active exercise.

See Rehabilitation and Exercise for a Healthy Back

Myth 2: Your spine is fragile and easily injured

Reality: The surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments provide a great deal of strength, flexibility, and support for your spine.

See Spinal Anatomy and Back Pain

While there are some exceptions (such as an unstable spinal fracture), keeping your spine healthy requires proper conditioning, including daily stretching, muscle strengthening, and aerobic exercises—even when you have a spinal disorder.

See Stretching for Back Pain Relief

Of course, this doesn't mean that your spine is indestructible. Activities that can harm your spine include both poor posture and body mechanics (e.g. improper lifting technique). Additionally, other lifestyle choices like smoking, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition can negatively affect your spine.

See Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

However, you typically don't need to worry that your spine is too fragile to engage in spine-friendly exercises.

See Back Exercises

Myth 3: The doctor didn't find anything wrong, so the pain must be all in my head

Reality: Pain is always real. Put another way, your physician may not be able to find the anatomical cause of your pain, but the pain still exists.

See Chronic Pain As a Disease: Why Does It Still Hurt?

As far as chronic pain goes (e.g. pain that lasts more than 2 to 3 months), it's important to be proactive. While psychological factors (such as depression) will often need to be addressed as part of a comprehensive treatment program, it is also important to search out non-surgical treatment options to help alleviate the pain.

See Depression and Chronic Back Pain

exercise ball class
Strengthening your core with an exercise ball may relieve some types of chronic pain.
Read:
Exercise Ball Therapy for Lower Back Pain Relief

Myth 4: My parent(s) had a back or neck condition, so I will as well

Reality: There is no genetic predisposition for most back and neck conditions.

This means that you are typically not destined to be a victim of the cruel hand of genetics when it comes to back or neck pain. However, many poor lifestyle choices can be passed down from generation to generation.

See Myths about Causes of Back Pain and Back Problems

So instead of worrying about genetic predispositions, it is best to focus on being proactive when it comes to protecting your neck and back. One key element of this is to ensure you sit with good posture. This means sitting tall with your shoulders back and your head in a neutral position over your spine.

See Posture to Straighten Your Back

Dealing with back and/or neck pain is a long-term vocation, not a short-term assignment. So you need to educate yourself with correct information to ensure your continued health.

Reading this blog was a good first step, and you can continue to find trusted information throughout our site.

Learn more:

Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Chronic Pain Coping Techniques - Pain Management