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What Can I Do To Help Ease My Lower Back Pain?

 

6th March, 2012

New ImageLow back pain is a common problem affecting around 4 out of 5 people at some point in their life. Anyone can experience back pain, and at any age. However it is most prevalent in people aged 35, 55 or over.

If you have back pain, the first step is to be properly assessed by your primary care provider such as your Chiropractor, Osteopath, Physiotherapist, GP or musculoskeletal specialist. If you require treatment from one of these specialists, your treatment will be appropriately tailored to your case.

Low back pain can be triggered by a number of things including sitting badly, bending or lifting incorrectly. These areas can be addressed and managed by yourself to some extent, read on to find out how...

If your back pain is mechanical in nature – the result of minor trauma e.g. trip or fall, moving boxes or swinging a tennis racket, there are some immediate things that you can do to help:

  • See your GP for appropriate pain relief such as anti-inflammatories (these may help reduce  swelling and inflammation of the affected area).
  • Avoid strenuous and aggravating activities.
  • Stay as mobile as possible and continue your daily activities as normally as you can.
  • Bed rest may actually make low back pain worse, so try to limit the time you spend resting to a minimum.
  • Cold compress the area for 5-10 minutes, 4-5 times a day (avoid ice burns!)

Don't miss next week's blog...The Ice Versus Heat Debate, Which Should I Use?

 
Prevention Of Low Back Pain

Alongside any advice to ease back pain when it occurs, there are a few things that you can do to avoid an episode actually occurring. Good back care can greatly reduce your risk of getting low back pain. The main points to consider when looking after your back are:

  • Keeping mobile
  • Regular exercise - walking and swimming are particularly beneficial
  • Try to keep your stress levels to a minimum
  • Bend from your knees and hips, not your back
  • Maintain good posture throughout work, rest and play
  • Ergonomic assessment of your work station if possible

The British Chiropractic Association have teamed up with Straighten Up UK to provide a quick, 3 minute, daily exercise routine that you can follow to help strengthen the spine and improve posture.  For more information, visit the Straighten Up website.

Avoid

  • Slouching in chairs, crossing your legs
  • Driving in hunched positions
  • Standing badly
  • Lifting incorrectly
  • Sleeping on a sagging mattresses
  • Generally overdoing it
  • Prolonged bed rest

Previously bed rest was advised for low back pain. However recent evidence suggests that being inactive for prolonged periods of time can actually have a negative effect on your low back pain.

With this in mind, the NICE guidelines (2009) advise moderate activity, such as gentle walking and continuing everyday activities to aid recovery and the healing process. So keep moving where possible!


Contributing Authors:
Shelley Doole DC MChiro


References

"Low back pain: Early management of persistent non-specific low back pain." National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Web. 10 Jan 2012. <http://publications.nice.org.uk/low-back-pain-cg88>.

"Back pain: Prevention of back pain." BUPA. Web. 30 Jan 2012.
<http://mobile.bupa.co.uk/personal/health-information/directory/b/backpain>

"Non-specific lower back pain in adults." Health information and guidlines. Web. 12 Jan. 2012. <http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Back-Pain.htm>.

"Causes and effects of back pain." BBC - Health. Web. 12 Jan 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/back_pain/causesback_types.shtml.

The information within this blog is in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. If your symptoms do not seem to be improving seek medical/professional help immediately.