Back Pain Basics: Do’s And Don’ts For Finding Relief
“Ow, my back!” Odds are, you’ve said this. Most of us experience back pain at least once in our lives. It’s one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor and stay home from work.
Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take on the road to recovery. Whether you’re suffering from temporary aches or acute pain, these Do’s and Don’ts can help you find relief.
” Take it easy. It’s OK – and wise – to give yourself some downtime from strenuous activities or daily tasks that aggravate your pain. Let your body have the time it needs to heal itself naturally.
” Get some exercise. Gentle exercise keeps your muscles and bones limber, and prevents the stiffness that can increase back pain. In addition, healthy blood flow aids in repairing injured tissue.
” Prop with a pillow. If you sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your knees. If you’re a back sleeper, put it under your knees to prop your legs up a bit. Both options help reduce back strain.
” Be your own doctor. No one knows your body like you do. You have the best perspective on what’s working and what’s not. If something’s not getting results, let it go.
” Try a few things. In many cases, several approaches provide better results than just one. A combination of proper rest, careful exercise, professional treatment and the pillow prop may all aid in recovery.
” Don’t head for the bed. Taking it easy and resigning yourself to the sheets are not the same thing. In severe cases, a maximum of two days in bed might be needed. Otherwise, too much prone time can actually increase your back pain.
” Don’t use too firm a mattress. This age-old remedy actually isn’t one. Although different bodies have different needs, a medium-firm mattress generally makes a better bed for a bad back.
” Don’t settle for “Maybe”. If you do seek professional care, be sure to get a clear diagnosis based on one or more real exams. Don’t settle for a 5-minute interview with your practitioner and then walk away with just an educated opinion. Even if the answer is, “There’s nothing physically wrong with you,” (which is often valid), make sure you get checked out thoroughly first. After all, you’re worth it (and you’re paying for it).
” Don’t disobey the doctor. After a diagnosis, be sure to follow the practitioner’s recommendations. If you don’t like what you hear, you’re always free to get another opinion. But don’t make a habit of ignoring the wise counsel and experience of qualified advisers.
” Don’t assume you need drugs or surgery. Most back pain can be helped by natural means, and a little time. Drugs and surgery may be needed in some cases, but they often create their own issues. Don’t complicate your life by adding unnecessary treatments if your body can handle the healing on its own.
Back pain is often unavoidable. But needless suffering isn’t. Knowing the basic Do’s and Don’ts can mean the difference between misery and relief.