Acute Low Back Pain: The Dos and Don'ts
80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime.
Many of those will go on to have recurrent back pain and a small percentage develop chronic lower back pain.
When you have an acute episode of lower back pain there are many things you can and should do to help you through it.
Keep moving. Bed rest is not recommended. Yes, you will need to rest more, but lying in bed for 3 days will only make you weaker and stiff!
Perform gentle stretches for the spine and hips (with caution). These may include stretches such as cat stretch, childs pose or stretches for your hip flexors and glutes. But if you’re scared or unsure…
Consult with a knowledgeable physiotherapist who can help you get back to functioning optimally.
So, what shouldn’t you do?
Stay in bed. Stay at home. Avoid movement all together. This will only make you weak, stiff and more sensitive to the pain. It will isolate you and give you more time for negative self-talk and to feel sorry for yourself.
Take anti-inflammatories and pain killers for an extended time. If your pain episode is persisting beyond a few days and you’re still on the Voltaren and Nurofen with no change, it’s not likely going to help if you continue.
Ignore the pain and push through. Pain is there to guide you. To tell you something isn’t right. If it isn’t settling then pushing through will further alter your posture and movement strategies. In the long run, the pain may persist into a chronic state.
Seeing a physiotherapist, exercise physiologist or rehab provider who specializes in back pain will help you in the long run – to return to your normal daily and leisurely activities faster, without added costs of medications, MRI Scans, injections and specialist visits.