Is your low back holding you back? Here’s how to manage it!
Managing your low back pain
Most of us have had some sort of low back pain before. From a minor ache and tightness that resolves in a couple of days to more intense, sharp pain that can take a little bit longer and be much more intimidating and frightening!
Regardless of the severity and the duration, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the pain doesn’t linger and affect your life anymore than it has to.
These are some tips we end up saying to the majority of people who present to us with various types of low back pain.
But of course, if there are more serious symptoms like pins and needles, numbness and weakness in your legs then it is important you seek a healthcare professionals opinion.
Keep moving and stay at work
This is probably the most important thing that you can do. Movement is the best medicine for any episode of low back pain. Go for gentle walks and do some gentle stretches. Keep that back moving. Also returning to work and if needed, returning with modified duties improves your chance of recovery and decreases how long your low back pain will hang around for. Some activities may need to be modified to make them easier for you to do and your healthcare professional can help you with this.
Use heat, not ice
A lot of confusion about whether to use heat or ice exists in the community. Of course it depends on the type of your back injury, but generally in acute back injuries or in back injuries that have lasted a long time there is unlikely to be much inflammation, so icing the affected area is unlikely to help. Using heat instead can help relax and decrease the tension in those tight back muscles and help you feel and move better.
Hands-on treatment can help
Your healthcare professional (osteopath etc.) can give you information on what is happening, why you are in pain, recognise if something more sinister is going on and educate you on what you should and shouldn’t do. They can also help relieve some of those aches and pains and give you stretches and exercises to help keep you moving.
Some medications may help, but try conservative treatment first
A great adjunct to movement and hands-on treatment is the addition of certain medications. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about what may be suitable for you, dependent on your past medical history and complaints. This may not be a long-term option so it is important that medication is used in conjunction with some of the other strategies we have mentioned above.
Above all else, stay positive. Most episodes of more acute low back pain settle within a few weeks and rarely have a longer lasting impact on your quality of life. Keep moving, modify a few things and let the body do its job. Our bodies are amazing at healing themselves and some things just take time.
For personalised advice regarding your low back pain come in and see one of the PO+AH team to help you on your recovery.