Low Back Pain Myths

Although back pain can be severe, we know through research that mostly it is not caused by any serious disease or injury. If you have an x-ray or a scan it may show ‘changes’, but we know that most of the time these changes are a normal part of aging such as getting skin wrinkles or grey hair. Most people have a good recovery despite ‘abnormalities’ being seen on an x-ray or scan.

The table below shows some of the terminology and ‘diagnoses’ that you might read on an MRI report. These scans were completed on people with NO back pain. Pretty surprising that by age 50 80% of us will have ‘disc degeneration’ and 60% of us will have a ‘bulging disc’ even if we don’t have pain!

(McCullough et al, Radiology 2012)

This doesn’t mean that our backs ‘wear out’. In fact, we know that backs get healthier and stronger with loading – walking and even gentle running can cause positive changes within the disc. (Belavy et al, Scientific reports 2017). You can see also how much the red ‘physical loading’ block contributes to disc degeneration below – not much!

(Battie et al, The Spine Journal, 2009)

So how can the Physios at Proactive help you through your low back pain episode, which can make you feel disabled, quite anxious, and scared – about lots of things; moving, doing important things like looking after the kids or your usual work tasks?

We’ll take time to assess you properly to make sure there’s nothing serious going on and make a treatment plan with you to get you moving forward to recovery. We’ll explain why you have pain using simple language, so you can make sense of it. We’ll listen to your worries, concerns or fears and make a plan that’s flexible and adapted to your life.

We’ll help give you confidence engaging in avoided activities that you value, we can coach you in a healthy lifestyle that can speed up your recovery. This could include physical activity, stress management, healthy diet and sleep.


For more information request an appointment via email [email protected] or ring Proactive on 0800868259.

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