The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Belief in this allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
One of my favorite museums is the Franklin Museum in Philadelphia. Of special interest to me is a handwritten letter by Ben Franklin to his personal friend Ben Rush, M.D., an intellectual and a physician.
Both gentlemen were signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Rush was a strong believer that dampness somehow led to colds or influenza; Franklin explained to Rush why he did not accept this concept.
Franklin wrote to Rush, "Traveling in our severe Winters, I have suffered cold sometimes to an extremity only short of freezing, but this did not make me catch cold. And for moisture, I had been in the river every evening two or three Hours for a Fortnight together, when one would suppose I might imbibe enough of it to take Cold if humidity could give it; but no such effect followed."
He suggested to Rush that we do not catch diseases from changes in temperature and dampness.
"I have long been satisfy'd from Observation, that besides the general Colds now termed Influenza's, which may possibly be spread by Contagion as well as by a particular Quality of the Air, people often catch cold from one another when shut up together in small close Rooms, Coaches, and so forth, and when sitting near and conversing so as to breathe in each other's Transpiration . . ."
There are many myths regarding our lives and especially our health care. The statement has been made, "We do not question the ideas we inherit." I would like to take this opportunity to review some of the common myths that we have inherited regarding back pain.
Myth No. 1: High heels cause back pain. Easy to sort this out; if that were true, only women would have back pain.
Myth No. 2: Heavy purses cause back pain and neck pain. There are many individuals running around, women included, who do not carry heavy purses or backpacks and suffer from back pain.