You’ll be going about your daily activities then ‘pow’ suddenly you’re hit with a sharp pain in your upper or lower back rendering you useless to the world. Back pain can seem to strike in an instant.
But actually, there are usually circumstances that build up to this situation. If you want to try to prevent future occurrences, it may be worth trying to work out what led up to your back ‘going’.
Fortunately, there are a several ways for you to ease your back pain.
Here we outline eight top tips that may help if back pain strikes.
1. Keep mobile or at least as mobile as you can. Walking is often the best activity to try first. However, if that is just too painful, you can try crawling on hands and knees to restore mobility.
2. Use ice rather than heat. If a joint is inflamed, ice can act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Take a pack of frozen peas/soft gel icepack and wrap in a piece of kitchen paper. Apply over the site of inflammation for no more than 15-20 minutes. Take the cold pack off for an hour and re-freeze it. Reapply for 15-20 minutes/take it off for 60 minutes and repeat this cycle. Never apply a cold pack directly to your skin. If you have circulatory or diabetic problems avoid using ice.
3. Avoid using a hot water bottle or hot bath.
4. Listen to your body. Pain may be a warning sign to prevent you from doing more damage so don’t ‘push on through the pain’.
5. Rest as your pain directs. Often side-lying with a pillow between your knees is good. Or, if lying on your back feels better, try putting the pillow under your knees.
6. Don’t try and push on with housework or gardening tasks. The pain is there as a warning in this acute stage. Get family and friends to help you with some of these tasks.
7. Be aware that pain and anti-inflammatory medication will mask symptoms. You should still be careful not to overdo it when you are feeling better.
8. Get an opinion from a chiropractor. If the pain persists beyond 48 hours you will need a thorough examination to determine the exact nature of the problem. A chiropractor will aim to get you back to normal activities as soon as possible. Early manipulation is suggested in the NICE/ RCGP guidelines for treating low back pain (1)
In a previous blog we discussed the benefits of mindfulness meditation in helping manage pain. Mindfulness meditation helps you deal with the pain through greater awareness of your body and your reaction to pain. In clinical tests, it has been proven to significantly reduce feelings of pain among those suffering from chronic pain, several examples of which are discussed in ‘Can meditation help me manage my back pain?’
Of course, prevention is better than cure.
In addition to keeping your joints flexible through regular chiropractic care, exercising regularly and doing strength exercises to help your back and stomach muscles, there are practical things you should remember every day to prevent any recurrence of back pain:
- Don’t carry heavy shopping bags on one arm or put heavy bags across one shoulder. This will put stress on the spine.
- Don’t sit for too long. If working at a desk, ensure you chair is correctly adjusted for your height with your feet firmly on the floor.Consider the benefits of a standing desk. For more advice see ‘Is sitting bad for my back?’
- If you’re lifting, ensure you do so safely. Poor lifting technique is a common cause of back pain. Don’t try lifting anything too heavy, start your lift in a strong position and keep the load close to your body. Keep your back as straight as possible.
- Maintain a balanced posture whenever you can. Slouching or leaning for long periods of time can have an adverse affect on your spine.
If you’re still experiencing pain in your back, Wokingham Chiropractic can help. We have a lot of experience in helping patients manage and alleviate acute and chronic back pain. Call us today on 0118 978 7466 and we’ll gladly advise you on your back pain issues.
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