When back pain strikes for the first time, it brings with it many decisions to be made: How long should you wait before seeing a doctor? What do the test results mean? Should you get surgery?

There are no set of right or wrong answers to these questions—each person’s individual situation is unique.

Mistakes that Can Worsen Your Back Pain

In having spent the past four years working with thousands of back pain sufferers, I have found that there are several mistakes that many make that prevent or delay them from getting lasting relief. Here they are.

1. Continuing to Do What Doesn’t Work

Many people will continue with a treatment for months even though they’ve seen no improvement at all.

If something isn’t delivering at least occasional improvement, you probably don’t want to waste to much time, money or focus with it.

2. Not Dealing with It the First Time

What do most people do when they experience back pain? They might go see their doctor, maybe take some pain reliever and then rest a week or so.

Once the pain is gone they are happy to get back to their life. The problem is, they never addressed what caused this problem to arise to begin with and this is why for so many people, back pain is a frequent and recurring theme.

3. “But I’m in Good Shape…”

Look, no matter how healthy and fit you think you are, you can still have back problems.

In fact, some people who think they are doing the right thing by exercising a lot are actually setting themselves up for problems like back pain because they are:

  • Over-training and not allowing the body enough time to repair and heal
  • Creating / worsening muscle imbalances with repetitive linear activities like cycling (spinning) and running
  • Creating / worsening imbalances because their exercise program doesn’t address their specific imbalances

4. Treating only The Symptoms

One of the biggest mistakes is a treatment that only treats the symptoms.

Examples of these include cortisone injections, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and painkillers.

While addressing the pain is important, you can’t expect to get rid of the problem without first identifying and then addressing the underlying cause.

5. Not Understanding that Back Pain Is a Process

One of the really big problems I see is that most people don’t know very much about their own bodies so when they experience something like back pain, they are at a loss as to what’s going on with their body.

So what do most people do? Go to the expert, right? Problem with that is most doctors are not back pain specialists and on top of that, they aren’t likely going to take the time to explain to you all about how your body works and what’s causing your pain.

You MUST understand, back pain is a process. It is something that develops slowly over time, sometimes for years and years.

Overtime we develop muscle imbalances and they force our bodies to work in positions that they are not strong, what we call dysfunctional.

Again, you can function with these imbalances for years or longer before you may even feel pain. The key is to identify these imbalances and correct them, preferably before you have a problem.

6. “I’ve Tried Everything…”

While most back pain sufferers do see multiple health care professionals and undergo multiple tests and treatments, the fact is, most have NOT tried everything.

The more things you try and the faster you try them the quicker you’ll get relief. It’s also important to point out that very rarely is one treatment the answer.

Most of the time, it’s a combination of things that will do the trick.

7. Not Being in Control of Your Care

There are several reasons for this, but one of the biggest mistakes back pain sufferers make is not taking charge of their care. They leave it up to their doctors and they place the responsibility on them to fix it.

Well, guess what… it’s your back and your responsibility. And while you may need help from various healthcare professionals, in the end, it’s still you with the problem.

So make sure you are in complete control and that you understand all aspects of the situation from the symptoms, to the diagnosis, the underlying cause, the treatments options, etc. The more you know the better.

So there you have it -7 of the biggest and most common mistakes I see back pain sufferers make.

If you suffer from back pain, or any physical condition for that matter, I suggest you re-read this several times and write a list of all the things you are going to do differently to put an end to your pain, fast!