The 3 Home DIY steps I prescribe my patients to reduce back pain and prevent any future flare ups.
We all have those days where our back feels stiff. Am I right?
Normally, stretching and taking Tylenol does the trick and we feel better.
However, some days we wake up and out of nowhere our back locks up. We experience severe pain and can’t even move or find a comfortable position. But, all we can think about is our busy day ahead.
We know what to do, right? Stretching, Tylenol, and off to our busy schedule…
But, this time the pain is worsening and several days have past.
If you’re reading this I’m guessing you’ve been there and looking for solutions.
I’m not going to tell you you’re doing it all wrong. Instead, I’m going to suggest a few pointers you can do right now which may give you much needed relief.
What I find is most people are actually doing things to make their condition worse. As their pain is worsening they tend to get desperate. This leads them to try any and all advice from people and google searches.
When the fact is, we should take a deep breath, slow down, and do less.
Back pain doesn’t happen due to bad shoes, old mattress, wrong exercises, or to some degree our weight.
Today, I’m not going to talk about all the reasons and causes of back pain. Instead I’m going to give you 3 things you can do right now at home to relieve back pain without much effort.
Back Pain Relieving Step #1: Slow Down, Do Less
How often do we think that maybe I need to do more to resolve a problem.
I’ll give you an example: I hear from patients all the time I know my weight is causing my back pain or I need to strengthen my core muscles.
Don’t get me wrong those are all healthy things we can do for our back. Problem with doing those 2 things is that it may take months if not years to achieve the level we want. I don’t believe most of us are willing to wait too long for back pain relief.
My suggestion is to Slow Down and Do Less.
We all have busy work days filled with errands, chores, and kids. And many times this daily repetitive activities is what creates our back problems.
Pain is just a way of telling us we need a break.
Stop all back exercises and stretches until pain has lessened. Because if done too early or improperly it can actually cause more pain.
Perform only important chores in small chunks and then take a break. Repeat this process until the chore has been completed.
Avoid being in 1 position for long periods. Meaning change positions often – sit for a bit, then stand, then sit, lay down…this keeps from applying pressure to only one area of our back.
Back Pain Relieving Step #2: Put Down The Heat Pack
This is a tough one to have people understand.
Many times growing up our parents and grandparents would often use warm epsom salt bath for pain and soreness. Even our doctors would sometimes suggest using heat packs for relief.
So we listened and continue to apply heat when in pain.
Believe it or not, applying heat may actually make our condition worse. Because it tends to create more swelling and more inflammation. Which is directly associated with pain.
If you look at many of the over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Alleve, Advil…many are sold as Anti-Inflammatory medication.
Therefore, avoid the heat.
Action step: Icing is not fun, but can bring great relief.
Take an ice pack or fill a Ziplock bag with ice and wrap a paper towel around the ice pack.
Either lay on the floor or a bed and place a pillow underneath your stomach for support. (Laying in this position gives the most relief as there is less pressure placed on the spine.)
Then place the ice pack onto the area of pain for 20 minutes every 2 hours. As your pain level is lessening ice every 4-6 hours.
Following each session of icing you may notice a little more stiffness. This is expected, but the main goal is to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Back Pain Relieving Step #3: Use Back Support Belt
I know what you’re thinking it’s such a hassle and I’ve heard it causes your muscles to weaken.
Both concerns are very true.
However, a back support belt can bring about immediate relief by stabilizing the spine.
Although it may create a little bit of hassle it may be very beneficial.
I understand the concern for muscle weakness, but I’m talking short-term usage. Muscle weakness from a belt usually comes from unnecessary long-term usage.
Action step: Support Your Back
If you don’t own one, purchase a belt at Wal-Mart or any drug stores. Purchase a basic affordable belt.
Strap on the belt firmly.
Wear the back belt all day, except when going to bed.
If the back belt is causing more discomfort or pain, wear it for short periods or remove completely.
Our back is not built to take on too much physical stress. However, many of our daily activities creates stress to our backs.
By following the above steps, you should feel some improvement to your back.
My general rule is there should be some improvement everyday if you follow the steps above.
However, if there is no improvement beyond 3-5 days seek immediate chiropractic or medical help.
Remember- we all have busy and stressful lives. Take the time to listen to your body and slow down and give your BACK a break.