Archive for September, 2010

Back pain basics: What to do

If you’ve suffered from low back pain over the past few days, or if you get back pain sometime in the future, the tendency will be to wait it out and see if it gets better. Sometimes we even decide to take time off and lie in bed, hoping we will eventually be feeling better and back to our usual activities or work. However, more and more research shows that lying in bed or waiting it out is the worst thing you can do for yourself. Remember, only 10 percent of people develop chronic low back pain, but those cases account for an estimated $100 billion a year in health care and other costs. It’s a safe bet that most of them have taken this incorrect “wait and see” approach.

Research suggests that when it comes to back pain, early intervention is best. There are many reasons for this concept, but here is a basic summary of what current guidelines are saying:

Low back pain can sometimes be due to something more serious than a simple sprain. That’s why it’s important to see your chiropractor right away so they can evaluate you for anything more serious.
Spinal manipulation is one of the only treatments that is consistently being recommended for those with acute low back pain – and yet far too many people don’t visit a chiropractor and choose to pop over-the-counter pain medication instead.
Avoid bed rest as much as possible. Yes, I know that it feels good and frankly, when I had an episode of low back pain once, I was tempted to lie in bed all day, too. On a basic level, it’s the most “rational” thing to do. However, bed rest actually wastes away your muscles, and this effect lasts even for the lucky ones who improve with their low back pain. For those who are pain free, the bad news is that the muscles still waste away.

So, the next time you experience back pain and feel like you can’t do anything, always remember that any movement or activity or treatment that keeps you moving is crucial for your recovery. Another factor is that you may be deconditioned and not fit enough. With back pain, you can become even more deconditioned. That’s why starting to move and then progressing to an exercise program is crucial to ensure not only that you get better, but also that you don’t get future bouts of low back pain. Talk to your chiropractor for more information.

To your health September Newsletter

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