Low back pain – how to avoid it becoming chronic
5 Tips to deal with Low Back Pain
5 Tips to deal with Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common presentations to GPs and Physiotherapists in Australia. When it happens to you, you can feel helpless trying to find what to do for some serious relief. New episodes of low back pain takes time to settle, but there are things that you can do to ensure you have the best outcome. Our Physiotherapists have come up their 5 top tips for acute low back pain.
Our body’s are intelligent and extremely intuitive. Can you imagine if you had to control your breathing, digestion, heart rate, hormone levels, kidney function and muscle contractions for even 30 seconds?! An impossible task for our conscious mind. It is our highly developed intelligence that can disrupt our body’s natural ability to heal. As a human living in the 21st century, we have access to a seemingly limitless amount of information. We can research anything we want, there are countless forums listing people’s personal opinions and experiences, and there are thousands of experts and “experts” putting their fair share of information out there for anyone to read (this blog included!).
When we develop low back pain, all of the things we have read in the past, and all of the experiences we have been told by others, as well as the new things we will likely read after developing low back pain, begin to create a unique story that our mind attaches to start to make sense of the situation. If our mind decides to attach to certain ideas of why we have pain, we often end up trying things that don’t actually work, or avoid things that we shouldn’t which can cause more issues. So I’ll you again to say it with me, “I trust in my body’s ability to heal itself!”.
It used to be common practice to tell people with a low back injury to rest in bed for weeks. We now know that that is the worst thing that you could do for yourself! Low back pain hurts, and does limit certain movements, but you want to make sure you “stay fidgety” and keep moving as much as you can.
Staying active does not mean pushing through your pain and pumping out your normal gym session, or forcing your back to move in ways it clearly doesn’t want to. Instead, do some gentle stretches or exercises every few hours, go for short walks, and alternate between sitting, standing and lying down. Although a massage can make you feel better in the short-term, movement has been proven to be more effective than hands on therapy for low back pain.
When we are sore, we often skip out on work, social events, our gym sessions, the sport we love, or playing with our kids. These are all integral parts of our lives and complete as a person. It is so important that as soon as you can, you get back into things, even if you’re doing, even if its modified. For example, it is better for you to get back to work and do light duties and gradually build back up to your normal tasks, or to go to the gym and do exercise that you can tolerate until you are ready to progress towards your normal routine.
As mentioned before, it is our developed intelligence that can be the culprit of pain developing into chronic pain (pain lasting longer than normal healing times or longer than 3 months). Unlike animals, we have the ability to perceive the past and the future, and when you’re in pain this can sometimes lead to anxious thoughts about being able to get back to work or look after your kids, and sadness about how you were out with your friends or going for a run before your pain started. Getting yourself centred and focused right here, right now, allows you to simply be present, rather than worry about things that are outside of your control. Whether is one of those colouring books that are all the rage, a meditation or a gentle yoga class, you’ll be able to find a way to get that highly intelligent mind to be present!
Be patient. Healing takes time, so just take each day as it comes. You’ll be back to your normal self in no time!
If you are suffering from low back pain and are looking for answers on the best way to manage your pain, we encourage to book in for an assessment with one of our Physios. If you are unsure what an assessment entails, please contact as at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Physiotherapists can arrange a time to have a chat with you.