I've had this article sitting around for a little while, I'll likely expand on it in the near future since back pain is so prevalent.
Many of us have had low back pain to some extent in our lifetime - be it a twinge from sleeping poorly the night before or a chronic, non-relenting pain. A quarter of the population has had back pain lasting longer than a day. So what do you do when you get pain, and how to you stop it from coming back?
As a physiotherapy student I’ve had the opportunity to treat patients with low back pain. Everyone is different, but here are some general principles that may help you with your back pain.
First of all, always keep your posture in check. Sitting slouched over a desk or in a very flexed position on your couch can aggravate pain by putting the muscles in your back under stretch and weakening them. It’s important to sit up right and support your lumbar spine with a cushion, rolled up towel, or proper backrest.
Secondly, exercise. Keeping fit and active can help prevent getting back pain in the first place. It has also been found to be an effective way to relieve back pain for chronic sufferers. However, it doesn’t have the same effects for those of you with acute back pain.
In the acute stage ice for the first 24-72 hours, heat after that point, rest, and posture are the most effective ways to treat low back pain. Your GP may give you pain-killers or muscle relaxants during this period as well.
What you need to consider is if this has been an ongoing issue or if you’ve just injured your back and will be over it within a few days. Anything that has been reoccurring should be dealt with professionally. Get yourself to a physiotherapist who can give you individualized advice and treatment. Remember, what works for some does not always work for others. The patients I have had respond well to gentle exercise and mobilization of the vertebrae, others need only advice about posture. Whatever your needs, make sure you find the right person to meet them.