Debunking Common Myths About Back Pain

Debunking Common Myths About Back Pain

For anyone who has experienced acute or chronic back pain, you know how pervasive it can be, impossible to ignore yet difficult to treat. There are a number of myths about back pain that sufferers tend to buy into, but not all of them hold water from a therapeutic point of view.

Here are 5 common myths about back pain, and the truth that debunks them:

  1. Myth: The spine is fragile and easy to injure. Truth: Your spine is supported by a strong and resilient network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make it strong, flexible and able to move through a broad range of motion. A regular exercise routine that includes strengthening, stretching and aerobic activity will help keep your spine healthy and protect it from injury.
  2. Myth: Rest is the best way to treat back pain. Truth: While rest may be advised for a short while after an acute incident that causes back pain, prolonged periods of inactivity can cause muscles that support your spine to atrophy, and can actually worsen your back pain. Most rehabilitation programs for back pain include physical therapy and an active exercise program.
  3. Myth: Back pain means there is some sort of structural damage that requires surgery. Truth: While an acute incident like a car accident can cause structural damage, most back pain, especially pain lasting more than 6 weeks, does not necessarily indicate damage. In fact, some back pain is caused by stress, and other psychological and social factors. Moreover, surgical interventions have a poor track record for resolving chronic back pain.
  4. Myth: My back pain will only get worse as I grow older. Fact: Back pain from herniated discs and degenerative disc disease is actually more common in people aged 30 to 50, and it often subsides as you age.
  5. Myth: An MRI scan will be able to identify the exact cause of my back pain. Fact: A medical history and physical exam are the foundations of back pain diagnosis. When it comes to back pain, an MRI scan often reveals nothing out of the ordinary, even if you are in a great deal of pain.

One More Nugget of Truth

Back pain often does not originate in your back at all, but comes from other issues, including:

  • Poor postural habits
  • Faulty movement mechanics
  • Deficient walking or running gait
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Overuse syndromes
  • Lack of exercise

Back Pain Diagnosis and Treatment in NYC

If you are suffering from back pain and want to resolve it for good, the back pain specialists at NYDNRehab can help. We are equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, and we take a holistic approach to treating and resolving your back pain. You do not have to resign yourself to a lifetime of back pain. Contact NYDNRehab today, and see why we are the foremost back pain clinic in NYC.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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