The Back Pain Paradox


I found this question on Quora  the other day: What do you think is the most paradoxical thing in life? There were some nice replies. For instance  "Everyone will have something to say about the choices that you make, but nobody actually cares"

It got me thinking about the paradoxes people run into with back pain.

Here is my top nine:

1) Where you feel the pain is generally not where the pain is coming from
2) Stretching can make you less flexible
3) The first thing that can happen when you start to get better is that you feel worse

4) Muscles are ignored as a source of back pain,  when they are the  cause of most chronic pain (IMHO)
5) You can have a lot of pain with nothing to see on a scan and no pain with a terrible looking scan
6) Millions of people take anti-inflammatories when they have no obvious inflammation

7) Complete rest will delay your recovery
8) An MRI is unnecessary  in 99%  of  back pain episodes
9) Leg length difference is not linked with back pain

The body almost always works in ways that are counterintuitive. We analyse our physical self with brain logic but it has an entirely different way of working. It is both scary and amusing that we misunderstand this structure that we are so intimately connected with.










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Philip Hambly

Osteopath at the Osteopath Centre from 2008 till present