• 5 Common Myths About Low Back Pain

    Back Pain

    Low back pain is common. At some point in their lives, 80% to 90% of the adult population will experience low back pain.

    Unfortunately, studies show that many people with low back pain don't get treatment that aligns with best evidence-based practices.

    Physical therapists are movement experts who treat low back pain and improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

    Find a PT near you!


    Here are 5 common myths associated with low back pain:

    Myth 1: Spinal manipulation (mobilizing the joints in the spine) is the best method for treating low back pain.

    A study showed that exercise was proven to be more effective than manipulation (only 10% required manipulation).

    Myth 2: Ultrasound and electrical stimulation are proven to aid recovery from low back pain.

    These types of passive treatments provide no long-term benefit, do not treat the underlying problem, and do not accelerate healing time.

    Myth 3: Low back pain is caused by inflammation.

    Inflammation does occur in certain conditions, and may be present when low back pain is acute; however, the majority of low back pain is mechanical and can respond positively to mechanical treatments (eg, stretching, prescribed exercise, aerobic exercise, stabilization, posture education).

    Myth 4: Low back pain is caused by arthritis.

    While studies show that arthritis is present in over 90% of those between the ages 50-55, only 10% experience arthritis-related pain. Arthritis is associated with aging, but not always associated with pain.

    Myth 5: You should rest and avoid or stop activity if you are experiencing low back pain.

    It is recommended to exercise and get active and mobile as soon as possible. A physical therapist can help.

    You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

    Find a PT near you!


    Additional Resources

    Health Center for Low Back Pain


    Chou, R. Qaseem A. Owens, D. Shekelle, P. Diagnostic Imaging for Low Back Pain: Advice for High-Value Health Care from the American College of Physicians. February 1, 2011, Annals of Internal Medicine. 2011 Feb 1;154(3):181-9

    Murtezani A, Govori V, Meka VS, Ibraimi Z, Rrecaj S, Gashi S. A comparison of McKenzie therapy with electrophysical agents for the treatment of work related low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2015;28(2):247–253.

    Ebadi S, Henschke N, Nakhostin Ansari N, Fallah E, van Tulder MW. Therapeutic ultrasound for chronic low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(3):CD009169.

    Rubinstein SM, Terwee CB, Assendelft WJ, de Boer MR, van Tulder MW. Spinal manipulative therapy for acute low-back pain; an update of the Cochrane review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013;38(3):E158–E177.

    Albert HB, Manniche C. The efficacy of systematic active conservative treatment for patients with severe sciatica: a single-blind, randomized, clinical, controlled trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012;37(7):531–542.

    Oliveira VC, Ferreira PH, Maher CG, Pinto RZ, Refshauge KM, Ferreira ML. Effectiveness of self-management of low back pain: systematic review with meta-analysis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2012;64(11):1739–1748.

    McKenzie R. Treat Your Own Back. 9th ed. Minneapolis, MN: Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products; 2011:5–9.

    Arthritis Foundation. Accessed March 28, 2018.

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