Back Pain Myths from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

February 1, 2017 - Mike Dilke

In just about everything in life there are myths and old wives' tales and it seems particularly so in medicine. Usually they are based on some truth but when it comes to back pain the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) have recently busted some of the most common myths.

I was lucky enough to talk with expert, Catherine Pope, Chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy who exposed some of the most common ones for me. LISTEN TO THE WHOLE DISCUSSION HERE on UK Health Radio.

The myths listed by the CSP are:-

  • Moving will make my back pain worse
  • I should avoid exercise especially weight training
  • A scan will show me exactly what is wrong
  • Back pain equals damage

They are all discussed in the interview with Catherine but the main one seems to be that moving will make any pain worse. The advice used to be to get bed rest but actually the thing to do is to keep moving as much as possible. Gradually increase how much you are doing and even take some pain killers to make moving easier.

The accepted idea now is that this will get you back to health and work and everything else more quickly. However Catherine did point out that if the pain persists and doesn't seem to be improving after a while, it would be sensible to see your doctor to check that the symptoms are not the result of something more ominous than a back pain.

I also asked her who makes more of a fuss with their back pain - men or women. She was sensible enough not to answer but with the limited experience of myself and my 6 year old son compared to my wife and 12 year old daughter I think us males probably win the prize for fussing the most with pain in general!

During the interview I referred to the CSP as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. It isn't - it is the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy so apologies for that.

The CSP has produced some literature (part shown below) on this and you can download it all at their website.

Thank you for reading and thank you to Catherine Pope for taking the time to talk with me. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions please do add them to this post.