Are you experiencing lower back pain? Is it a few days or a week before you can see an osteopath? Don’t worry. There are many ways you can manage the condition yourself in the interim. We are here to put your mind at ease with these simple self-management treatments.
While the pain in your lower back might be severe and has you lying down, try to avoid prolonged bed rest. It is important to remain as active as you can, so you recover more quickly. Move around as soon as you are able and aim to do a little more every day. You could try walking around the house or to the shops. You may be in some discomfort so avoid anything that causes debilitating pain.
Try gentle stretching and exercises before you attempt any activity and avoid heavy lifting, repetitive bending, twisting, pushing and pulling.
Hot and cold treatments
Anything from a hot bath to heat packs and hot water bottles can help ease the pain. Also, ice packs or a bag of frozen peas applied to the affected area can be effective. But make sure that you don’t place the heat pack or cold pack directly on the skin to avoid causing burns. Wrap them in a cloth before applying.
You could even alternate between the two. Both hot and cold packs can be purchased from most pharmacies. And a head’s up not to use either if you are experiencing numbness.
It might help if you change your sleeping position while you are experiencing lower back pain. Take some of the strain off your back to ease the pain.
If you sleep on your side, bring your legs up slightly towards your chest and place a pillow between your knees. If you sleep lying on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This will help you maintain the normal curve in your lower spine. If you sleep on your front, although not advisable for lower back pain, put a pillow under your tummy.
As for your mattress, a medium to firm mattress is best for preventing back pain. It should support your shoulders, hips and buttocks while keeping your spine straight. Surfaces that are too soft or too hard can exacerbate back pain.
Relaxation is a critical part of easing back pain because muscle tension caused by worrying can make your condition worse. Learn some relaxation techniques or practice mindfulness to reduce your stress levels and in turn muscle tension.
If you are overweight, try to reduce your weight which will help to decrease the strain on your back and help prevent recurrences.
Lift and carry safely
Ensure that if you have to pick up a heavy load that you squat down and hold the object as close to your body as you can, and lift using your legs. Keep your back straight. Ask someone to help you or use a trolley if the load is too heavy to manage comfortably on your own.
It is important you remain at work if you can, but if your job involves sitting down for long periods, sit on a chair that has lumbar support. You can make your own support by using a rolled-up towel or pillow which should be placed in the curve of your lower back. If you are standing for long periods, avoid wearing high heels, and rest one foot on a small stool or box every now and then.
Do not bend constantly when working as this will aggravate the pain. And when performing repetitive tasks, take frequent short breaks to relax or stretch. Never sit for longer than 20 to 30 minutes without getting up and moving around. Avoid slouching and pay attention to your posture.
Social connections are very important for promoting recovery. So, remember to keep up with social activities, leisure and at home.
Learn more about your back pain
Learn more about your lower back pain. What makes it better? What makes it worse? Take notice of these and even start a pain journal to keep track of triggers.
When should I see a specialist?
There are times when it is better for you to see a doctor for advice, such as:
In most cases acute lower back pain will improve within three to six weeks. Yet treatments from a qualified professional such as an osteopath can do wonders. You will be given advice on self-management and shown techniques to keep your muscles strong and joints mobile.
Osteopaths at Movement Studio and Training are skilled in soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, high velocity-low amplitude manipulation and so much more. They are experts at treating lower back pain and restoring optimal health and well-being. So, contact them today to discuss treatment for your lower back pain.