Fear of movement unfounded
This letter is in response to the column by Ryan W. Richard, “Move right for spine health,” in the Daily on Feb. 12. Back pain is very common, and as physical therapists we see more patients with back pain than with any other condition.
I agree that it is important to emphasize stability of the spine, but I disagree with statements like “spines don’t need motion.” One of the current theories on chronic pain is that the nervous system becomes hypersensitive to normal movement, stress and strains. Many people who suffer from chronic pain develop a fear of movement and thus avoid normal movements, postures and activities. This results in loss of flexibility, strength and endurance over time, which can perpetuate the pain cycle.
Therefore, it is important as professionals in the health world that we do not feed into this fear of movement.
Ryan’s message that back pain is not necessarily a “life sentence” is a good one, and his personal story is a good example of this. However, I believe that it is also important to send the message that motion is not harmful to the spine. He is right, mobility exercises may not be the most important type of exercise for many individuals who would benefit more from stability training, but we do have to be careful with words like “dangerous” and “problematic” when presenting this information to the public.
Staff physical therapist at Ascent Physical Therapy