If I have Back Pain: What should I do?
If I have back pain – What should I do?
Firstly, don’t panic. Over 80% of all people get some form of back pain in their lives. There are many types and causes of back pain however, so its often good to have it checked out by someone like your friendly Basingstoke Chiropractic team at Connective Chiropractic.
However booking an appointment is one thing, but what until then. If you’re saying “I have back pain” and you’re not sure what to do before you can get to see us, or you’ve been to see us and want some easy ways to keep it further at bay, look no further.
1. Book in
If your saying or thinking the words “I have back pain” – book in to see us. Chiropractic care is considered effective at helping a numerous number of conditions and, speaking generally, back issues is the one thing we have most evidence for and are most widely known for being able to assist. Of course, it all depends on your circumstance as to whether Chiropractic care might be able to help you, but we can only properly advice after having conducted some tests to see what is going on.
2. Simply saying “I have back pain” won’t make it go away
This sounds like common sense, but you’ll be amazed how many people just think that back pain will sort itself out. Indeed a study suggested over 40% people with back pain do nothing about it. It’s then left for us to say that if you’re experiencing any sort of painful sensation something somewhere isn’t 100%. Yes, some form of back pain will go with time, motion or sometimes even distraction- but we’re more interested in looking to its causes and getting it sorted. If you’re interested in preventing it from coming back, as well as getting some help with its relief, contact us or book in.
3. Gentle movements
When you have back pain, it’s often our natural instinct to move gently. Most of the time gentle movements can help, so this is a great thing to do. If you’re in severe pain, it goes without saying that calling your GP (or for an ambulance in really severe circumstances and staying put is wise instead).
Often finding a rhythm of movement that moves your body in and out of pain is best: It helps to gently stretch tighter areas as well as helping your body and brain to feel more comfortable with certain positions and ranges of motion. Here we are talking about rocking from side to side, waddling movements or gentle walking. Nothing too huge.
4. Ice it up
We live in a world where we expect everything to be a quick fix and to come from a bottle or a pill. The reality is that some natural methods work better or even best. Cold is a natural anti-inflammatory and is safe to use even if you have something more complex going on or are taking other medications. Pop something like a bag of frozen peas (wrapped in a towel to stop yourself burning yourself and to help distribute the temperature in a more controlled fashion) onto the affected areas. In our experience cooling gels and sprays are not quite as effective as the real thing, but are good if you haven’t got something frozen to hand or need a quick blast whilst out and about. Using both at the same time can be good- but just be sure to wrap what you’re using in a towel! Cold is a natural pain reliever too: win win!
Use of cold
In case of injury, using ice works by decreasing blood flow to the injured area. This in turn reduces inflammation, pain, swelling and hopefully any associated spasming. It is one of the best things you can do within the first 2 days following sports injuries, lifting injuries, ligament sprains, muscle strains or bruising.
Tips for using cold
We recommend icing for about 20 minutes or so, but not much longer than that. In general, it’s advised to do it up to 4 times a day and suggest removing the ice for about 10 to 15 minutes between applications- enough time to put what you’re using back in the freezer to keep it cold and also to give your body a break!
5. Warm it up
I know what you’re saying. “I have back pain and your giving me conflicting advice”. I know… but there is a reason. Whilst cool will undoubtedly help to take away both pain and inflammation, warmth can play a role in softening connective tissues, such as muscles. We pretty much almost always advise warmth AFTER cold, even where the issue is more muscular in nature. The reason here is because warmth can in itself create inflammation and that inflammation can lead to feelings of additional pain or restriction. If in doubt, our advice is to ice and book in to see us.
If you’re going to use heat, our tips are to wrap your hot water bottle or wheaty bag in a towel to prevent burning. The second piece of advice is to not get it too hot. The temptation is to go for as hot as you can withstand and whilst this might feel nice, it’s not actually going to be as useful for you as something that is warm that you can sit with until it goes cold. What you don’t want to do is put something hot on, take it off soon after and let the muscles go from hot to cold fast. We consider it better for more long term injuries (including sports injuries), muscle spasms or some forms of arthritic pain. Stretching with some warmth might assist the stretch, but if in doubt contact us or your GP before doing so.
It’s sometimes okay to use both hot and cold
It is useful to note that inflammation (e.g.: caused by heat) can sometimes aid the healing process so there is a fine line between choosing heat or cold for your injury. Inflammation tends to open up blood vessels which in turn increases lymphatic drainage and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your body. From a more biochemical perspective it also directly influences how muscles hold themselves, allowing them to relax.
I know… you have pain, so it’s difficult. But have you considered that your tensing up could be making it worse? Anything you can do to take your mind off it is a worthwhile exercise. This doesn’t mean ignore it (see tip one and two) but it gives you greater ability to move and feel okay without working so much against yourself.
Book your appointment with Connective Chiropractic
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Registered Company (10788728) in England & Wales, Registered Address: Arena Business Centre, Basing View, Basingstoke, RG21 4EB.
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