Dr. Jake here again!
We've all been in pain before, and we all try to figure out what the heck is going on. We ask our friends, our trainers, our coaches, and our doctors, and sometimes they lead us toward the right answer.
BUT, there are a lot of WRONG answers!
Let's look at back pain, for example.
There are SO MANY things that can cause pain in your back. You probably know the common ones (herniated disc, pulled muscle), but here are some causes that go overlooked:
If you're suffering from any of these, but you're only being treated for a disc issue, you will NEVER get better!
There's an equally long list for neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, and leg pain.
"So I should get an MRI and find out what's REALLY going on before I decide how to proceed, right, Dr. Lee?" you might be thinking.
MRIs, scans, x-rays, and imaging of all kinds can cause a huge confirmation bias.
Over the past 5+ years there have been multiple high-quality studies looking at MRI results of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic people aged 50+. "Asymptomatic" means that these people have NO symptoms.
The results? Over 60% of people aged 50+ have some type of degeneration, herniation, or bulging in their lumbar spines.
Now remember, these studies were done on people who DIDN'T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS!
So if you're having back pain caused by poor posture (or anything else on our big list from before), but an MRI shows that you have a disc problem, your doctor is immediately going to start treating the disc problem-even though that's NOT the cause of your pain!
You're going to spend endless time and money (and maybe even surgery) to fix something that's not even bothering you, and your back pain will continue until you fix your posture.
So what should you do?
Stop trying to diagnose yourself. Stop letting your friends tell you what could be wrong with you based on what was wrong with them. Stop obsessing over your MRI.
Find a doctor (like a physical therapist!) who knows how to be objective and look for ALL the possibilities on our list, not just the common ones. You'll get out of pain, and STAY out of pain, when you address the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
That's all for this time! Stay tuned for next week's blog!