Over 90% of us will get back pain at some point in our lives. To a large extent, there is nothing to be feared when it comes it.
However, sometimes our back pain can get intense. Your pain may be severe. You may struggle to get out of bed or even move.
This article shares with you what you should consider before seeking professional help.
When did your pain start?
It is not reasonable to expect your pain to go away immediately. Think of the last time you fell and scraped your knee, it probably took a few days before the pain start to subside.
The same is true for your back aches and soreness.
If your symptoms started less than six weeks ago, you’re in lucky! It’ll probably go away with a little more time. Most back pain will go away within 12 weeks. Even without treatment!
We get that your back pain can be scary. However, they do really tend to go away by themselves.
If it’s been more than 12 weeks or if you are getting recurrent episodes of back issues on a regular basis, you may need professional help to get it resolved.
Leave it alone!
Gentle mobilisation and stretching can indeed help with lower back pain. However, it’s usually best to live it alone.
Consider the time when you fell and scraped your knee. Did you repeated try to apply pressure on it or to pull on the surrounding skin (i.e., stretch)?
Similarly, you shouldn’t be applying pressure to your lumbar spine or stretching your back muscles out. Yes, we get that that’s what you want to intuitive do. But it’s highly unlikely to help.
Some of you may complain that it feels tight and that it needs to be stretched. Well, there are two things you should know. First, stretching isn’t going to you feel better. In fact, too much stretching will probably exacerbate your symptoms. Second, what do you think happens to a rubber band when you pull on it?
Does it become tighter or looser?
Yes, we get that it’s uncomfortable and you really feel like doing something about it. However, sometimes doing nothing is the best thing.
Remember, leave it alone
Reduce load to the low back
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, some of you may be able to get by with some upper body workouts. For most of you, it’ll be best to take a little break from your usual exercise routine.
While your low back is robust and resilient, and for most parts will not further injury with exercise, it’s possible that you may flare it up further.
This means higher pain intensity and longer pain duration!
It will be prudent to take a break from high exertion physical activity and your usual exercises for a few days or weeks. Once you start to feel better, gradually return to your usual activities.
When in doubt, seek professional help!
Keep active! Don’t just roll in bed
It’s important to work with your low back during this difficult period, and to keep doing what works.
The latest clinical guidelines around the world are clear that bedrest can worsen your condition. This means taking longer to feel better!
Yes, we did mention that you should take a little break from exercise and higher exertion activity in the previous point. But what you shouldn’t do is to stay in bed and do absolutely nothing!
Some movements and light exercises can be good for you, depending on how your low back tolerate it.
Exercises that are suitable for lower back pain can include bird dog, McKenzie extensions. Whatever it is that you decide on, do remember to take it easy and keep to what your body is willing to let you do.
If you find these recovery exercises boring, you can try going for a short walk or a swim. Remember, keep within what your body is willing to let you do! Pushing too early and too hard is going to prolong your pain experience. We don’t want that!
Reconsider pain relief treatments
It does take time for your pain to go away. This is a normal part of recovery. According to the latest research, there’s not much that you can do to accelerate it in a meaningful way.
Sure, some of you may feel better applying heat pack or going for a chiropractic adjustment. Research tells us that the relief you experience from these treatments are likely from contextual factors. Meaning, the relief doesn’t actually come from the modality itself!
It’s kinda like how you may also feel better from drinking chicken soup when you are down with a cold. I promise you that there’s nothing clinically therapeutic in the chicken soup that can alleviate your symptoms.
No, we are not saying that you shouldn’t go for pain relief treatments. We are saying that the relief you do feel doesn’t actually come from the treatments themselves.
Yes, you can consider this as a placebo effect.
Living with pain can indeed be challenging. On the bright side though, most of your pain will probably go away on its own. This is great news!
The most important thing left to do is to stay positive!
There may be an adjustment period because you may need to do things slightly different in the short-term, or cut out your favourite exercises for the time being. While unpleasant, they are necessary and will benefit you overall.
If your pain persists beyond 12 weeks or has been going on for longer than 12 weeks, it’ll be a good idea to seek professional help. Drop us a message via the form before to find out more!
WANT TO GET STARTED IMMEDIATELY?
Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.
*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.