Popular Treatments That Just Don't Work

Popular Treatments That Just Don't Work


Research has shown that some treatments for back pain won’t do you much good. Here are some of the most common.

Bed rest. Too much bed rest can actually make your back pain worse and may even lead to complications like blood clots in your legs, loss of muscle tone, and depression. The best advice? Begin stretching exercises as soon as you can, and try to get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible.

Traction. This common treatment is supposed to pull your spine into alignment by using weights and pulleys. While you may get some temporary relief, there is no proof that traction provides a long-term cure.

Shoe insoles, orthotics, or back belts. These devices just don’t do the job, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. In fact, researchers found that back pain sufferers who used them were more likely to face another bout of back problems within a year.

What works? Keep active. Researchers found that exercising — along with learning better lifestyle habits — reduces your chance of another back attack in the next year by almost half. And it doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you choose provided you don’t overextend or twist suddenly. Lunges, stretching with possible overextension, and sports involving contact or twisting could aggravate a back injury.

You can work on your core and back muscles or go with strength training, balance exercises, walking, or an aerobic routine. The key to success? Just get moving.

To get you started, try this body roll first thing in the morning — even before you get out of bed. Lie on your back with your legs straight. Stretch your arms out over your head. Use your core muscles to roll to your left and onto your stomach. Don’t cheat by using your head, arms, or legs.

Roll back onto your backside, then use the same technique to roll to your right. Gradually work yourself up to 10 reps.

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