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Baylor Health Care System > Physicians & Locations > Grapevine > Specialties & Services > Spine Care > Five Mistakes that Affect Your Spine Health

Five Mistakes that Affect Your Spine Health 

Not Moving

Many mistakenly believe if they are having back pain they should lay in bed or eliminate all activity. When the pain is severe, 1-2 days of decreased activity and bed rest may be helpful. Beyond that, decreased activity can lead to more pain from contracted tight muscles.

Mistaking Exercise for Back Health

Most of us lead sedentary lives. We exercise on the weekend after sitting behind a computer all week. Those who do exercise regularly often don’t focus on their spine. Running or lifting weights doesn’t improve the strength of the abdominal and low back muscles. Specific back exercises are necessary to do that. For those with a back problem, core strengthening routines should be a part of a daily exercise program.

Demanding an MRI too soon

Back pain can be so severe that most people assume there is something dreadfully wrong with their spine. They see their MRI report and are certain that words such as degenerative, bulging, and arthrosis are the cause of their symptoms. What most don’t realize, is that many findings seen on an MRI are a normal process of aging and have been gradually occurring for years. Without a traumatic incident, an MRI should not be seen as a necessity unless the pain hasn’t improved with medications and activity change over a period of weeks or if there is significant leg pain or weakness developing.

Looking for a Cure

No one wants to be disabled, even temporarily, by back pain. It is easy to become frustrated when doctors can’t give a definitive cause for the pain or seem to treat every symptom with medication and exercise. It can be tempting to try well marketed but unproven technologies for thousands of dollars; or jump to surgical solutions which can make the pain worse or result in complications worse than the original symptom. Be careful, do the background checking. If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

Overlooking the Little Things

There are a number of things that an individual can do to reduce the likelihood of those horrible back pain episodes.

  1. Sit with a well-supported spine, feet flat, and good lumbar support
  2. Focus on posture when sitting or standing, it helps those abdominal and low back muscles support the spine properly.
  3. Stand with one leg bent an on a short step. It decreases the pressure on the low back. It’s helpful for those whose jobs require prolonged periods of standing
  4. Use your legs when lifting something from the ground. If it is heavy, get help or use a cart
  5. Sleep with a pillow under your knees. It decreases the pressure on the low back
  6. Exercise regularly. Not only can you keep the weight off around the midsection, but focusing on core muscles and flexibility with yoga or Pilates can keep those back muscles supporting that gradually aging spine.

For more information or for a referral to spine specialist, please call the Baylor Spine Center at 817.424.4151.