3 Ways to Relieve Low Back Pain
I know what it’s like to have lower back pain. Since you are reading this, you probably do too. It’s not fun. That raw, nerve pain, the kind where it scares you to even breath, in case it sends more shooting pain through your body.
And then there’s that nagging kind of pain. Where it just doesn’t go away and really just gets irritating.
It happened to me when I was 15 years old. I was playing rugby, got tackled and twisted my back badly. When I got off the ground I couldn’t put weight on my left leg. It just felt like someone was stabbing my lower back with a red hot poker.
Before then I had never had back pain. At least nothing like this.
I thought it would just go away, so I kept playing and it did seem to get better.
After the game as I cooled off, the pain got worse. If I stood for too long, my back would just ache and burn, but I couldn’t get comfortable sitting either. And then every time I tried to move the pain was like lightening in my back.
I didn’t sleep much that night either. I would just start to doze off, then bang- the pain would wake me.
This went on for 2 weeks. Nothing seemed to work. I would get relief from pain -killers, and the stretches seemed to help – sometimes. But nothing was “fixing it”.
That’s when my mum took me to see a chiropractor. This guy gave me my life back, and I am forever grateful, but more than that he changed the course of my life because when he helped me, I knew there and then that I wanted to be able to do that for others too.
Its no surprise that I am going to tell you chiropractic can help you.
But before I go into why I believe our practices offer the very best in back rehabilitation programs around and what makes it so unique, I imagine you are sitting there in pain, so I want to give you 3 simple, quick and effective techniques to reduce your pain RIGHT NOW.
- Get moving. – I know it hurts, I have been there too. But believe me, rest is the last thing you need. The more you move, the less it will hurt. It doesn’t have to be fast, just slow and steady walking will do the trick. Do your best to stand more and more upright as you go.
Once you have gotten walking, and the pain isn’t so “catchy”, try these simple exercises:
- Standing up as tall as you can without increasing the pain, clench you bum muscles for 5 seconds. Relax them for 5 seconds and repeat this for a total of 5 times. Now do the same thing with your thigh muscles. Be sure to keep yourself upright as you do this, and try no tolean forward.
- Gently run your hand down the side of your leg. If it starts to hurt – stop just before the pain. Then lean the other way. Try and get a fraction further each time you do this. Aim for a minimum of 30 repetitions.
And remember, the more you move the better it will be.
2. ICE/HEAT – If you have just strained your lower back – use ice for the first 24 hours. You can use an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel. Apply to the area of pain for 20 minutes, take it off for 20 minutes and repeat 3 times or as needed.
After the first 24 hours, heat is best. Use the same protocol – 20 minutes on 20 minutes off and repeat up to 3 times or as needed. You can use a wheat bag or whatever you have. Deep heat rubs like tiger balm can help too.
3. “Passive back stretch” – This one is good, but it can be difficult getting up afterwards, so use your common sense as a guide here.
- Lay flat on your back with your hips bent to 90 and your knees resting on a chair.
- And breathe and relax. This will help the muscles around the lower back relax.
- Lay here for approx 10-15 mins as needed.
- When you stand back up, roll onto your side slowly and stand from there.
When it comes to sitting here is what you need to know…
The less you sit the better, but whatever you do DON’T sit in your nice comfy lounge. You may feel okay while you are there in the moment, but when it’s time to get back up you will feel 10x worse.
It just isn’t worth it…
Instead sit in a hard, straight back chair, or ideally a breakfast stool. This forces you to keep your muscles engaged while you sit there, and are a lot easier to slide off versus climbing out of your sofa.
Here is how to sleep with a bad back…
You have 2 choices;
- Lay on your side or;
- Lay on your back.
On your back – put a couple pillows under your knees to keep them bent. This will reduce the pressure on your lower back by reducing the curve and relieving the sciatic nerve.
On your side – You want to lay with your hips and knees bent. Place a pillow between your knees to separate them slightly.
These techniques are great at relieving lower back pain, but they will not correct the cause of the back pain.
So why DOES my back hurt????
Your back hurts because of one or more of the these:
- Strained a muscle
- “Slipped” or injured disc
- A bone is out of line pressing on nerves (subluxation)
- Sprained ligaments
- Long term degeneration/wear and tear that has built up over time
- Bad posture
In my experience is normally a combination of at least 2 of these. Quite often more than 2. And a lot of the time, getting one will lead to another.
For example, if you strain a muscle, that will affect your posture which can cause the position of bones to shift which will irritate nerves…. That’s just one example.
How do I correct it?
This is where you need a thorough assessment to determine the exact factors causing your back pain.
This means at a minimum:
- A detailed conversation with your care provider so you can give them as much information as possible. It’s important to note, that sometimes, things that seem unrelated – like a car accident 20 years ago, may actually be very related. So don’t hold back, give them all the information you have.
- A thorough physical assessment. A good physician can actually feel what’s happening in your back. They pick up on differences in muscle tension, positioning of bones, swelling, inflammation even skin changes. A good assessment will rule in and rule out possible causes of pain. This is how we narrow the list from above and determine what needs to be addressed.
- Sometime x-rays or other scans will be required. We take postural and motion study x-rays of the spine on site. I love these, because it tells me:
- How long an injury has been there.
- Important postural information.
- How each specific bone in the spine move or don’t move. I can isolate which exact bone is causing the problem.
- We can take comparative x-rays to provide a before care and after care comparison. This is particularly important because it tells us how much or how little care is needed.
Once we know what the problem is, a plan can be created to correct it.
Different care providers will structure these differently based on their facility and their capabilities and training.
Over the past 8 years our clinics have provided over 100,000 individual consultations. Thanks to this experience we have this down to a fine art, and believe we offer the very best in spinal care.
Our spinal corrective care plans are tailored to your individual circumstances but the goal is always the same – to provide a long term correction to the pain. We do this by incorporating the following into each care plan:
- Chiropractic adjustments – These are gentle, safe and effective. Think of this as a “wheel alignment”. Like all aspects of care, these are tailored to each individual’s needs, which means we can adjust 130kg football players or elderly women with osteoporosis. By using a variety of techniques we find the right one for you.
- Custom exercise programs – Again, tailored to your needs, these are also graduated programs which means, as you begin to master one set of exercises we then replace them with more challenging exercises so you continue to improve.
- Denneroll Spinal Orthotics – Specifically designed to correct bad posture. Similar to braces for the teeth. These help correct “dowagers humps”, “sway backs” “forward head posture” etc.
- Neuromuscular Re-education – A challenge with correcting a long standing problem with someone’s health is that the body can begin to see the problem as “normal”. This is especially true when it comes to posture. This means the body can resist holding the changes that are made. Neuromuscular re-education is a critical part of resetting this and creating a new normal that lasts – so the body holds the changes that are made.
- Trigger Point Therapy/Dry Needling/Remedial Massage – Many long standing pain conditions are the result of old injuries which have left scar tissue and adhesions in the muscles. This needs to be addressed so to not only strengthen and heal but prevent the injury from reoccurring.
- Results must be measurable – The whole way throughout your care program results need to be measured. These include functional assessments (how well you can perform your normal daily activities), postural comparisons and comparative x-rays.
At Chiropractic Health & Wellness we take your health and your results seriously. If you are suffering and want to find out how we can help call one of our offices today.
We have friendly, professional staff who are highly trained to take care of you. We have locations in Bathurst, Mudgee and Cowra.
We will take the time to find out exactly what is causing your back pain, and provide you with options on how to handle it and get a long term correction.
In your service,
Dr Jesse Middleton
Dr Jesse Middleton is a wellness expert, leading chiropractor, speaker and natural health advocate. Dr Middleton is a respected, highly regarded master chiropractor whose passion is to teach people how to achieve health for themselves and their family regardless of genetics, age, and history. His Chiropractic Health & Wellness Clinics, onsite corporate and business wellness programs and ergonomic assessments provide people of all backgrounds with the practical tools necessary to build their own health towards the path to true wellness.