Low back pain is extremely common – up to 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their life. There are different ways to manage your back pain depending on the cause of your pain. Seeking Physiotherapy treatment can be beneficial in helping make a proper diagnosis to help guide you through proper treatment and recovery. In the meantime there a few things that can help you:
- Movement: long gone are the days where bed rest is recommended as a treatment for back pain. Movement is extremely important and can lead to quicker recovery time. Regular movement and changes of position is essential. Avoid standing in the one spot or sitting for long periods of time. Aim for regular short walks throughout the day.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time: sitting for long periods of time can increase pain and stiffness you experience. If you need to sit for work, set alarms every 15-30 minutes to remind yourself to get up and walk around.
- Use heat: applying heat to the area can assist with improving blood flow and reducing muscle spasm
- Stretch: often with low back pain there will be a direction that the back feels comfortable and pain free moving in (ie bending forward or arching back). Try to perform stretches that feel comfortable on your back. Reducing stiffness and restoring range of motion through stretches can assist in reducing pain.
- Strengthening: improving strength and stability of the muscles around the trunk, low back, hips and pelvis can reduce low back pain and lead to better long term outcomes. Your Physiotherapist can help assess your strength to determine key areas that need to be addressed and set you up with an appropriate program.
Reduce stress: reducing stress is a particularly important component of addressing chronic low back pain. During periods of high stress our nervous system is heightened and our experience of pain can be enhanced. Adopting mindfulness strategies and stress relieving strategies is key.