MYTH 1: If you have a slipped disc (also known as a herniated or ruptured disc) you must have surgery. Surgeons agree about exactly who should have surgery.
FACT: 90% of all herniated discs heal without surgery. Surgeons often disagree about who should have surgery.
MYTH 2: X-ray and newer imaging tests (CT and MRI scans) can always identify the cause of pain.
FACT: For 85% of people with back pain, doctors are unable to determine a precise cause of the pain, even with scans and/or x-rays.
MYTH 3: If your back hurts, you should take it easy until the pain goes away.
FACT: People who stay active after a back injury (even in the face of discomfort) do significantly better than those who stop all activity.
MYTH 4: Back pain is usually disabling
FACT: Although the pain can sometimes be severe, it is rarely disabling.
MYTH 5: Most back pain is caused by injuries or heavy lifting.
FACT: Over half of the people with back pain develop it gradually without a specific injury.
MYTH 6: Everyone with back pain should have a spine x-ray.
FACT: X-rays rarely help a doctor treat a patient with back pain more effectively. In fact, only one time in 2,500 will an x-ray change a doctor's treatment decision.
MYTH 7: Bed rest is the mainstay of therapy.
FACT: Bed rest causes rapid deconditioning which can make a person more susceptible to developing a chronic problem. Scientific research demonstrates that those who remain at least somewhat active after an injury do better than those who rest in bed.