Tips for Back and Neck Pain
There is no shortage of information out there for dealing with back pain. Below are some useful tips and suggestions that I hope you can find helpful. Please feel free to call, email or stop by the clinic with any questions, concerns, if you need clarification or more information.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH
- It is your body and health and you should have the right to help plan your care. Learning about your health condition and the variety of options on how to treat it is important. You should always discuss treatment options with your caregivers to determine the care you would like to receive. When dealing with pain and injury, everyone is different and should seek out the care best suited for their individual needs.
GETTING INTO CARE
- Research shows that seeking care from any health care provider (chiropractor, massage therapist, physiotherapist, osteopath, acupuncturist, naturopath etc.) will greatly reduce pain and discomfort. There is an overwhelming body of evidence that the worst thing you can do for back pain is nothing. Your condition will improve quicker and will be less likely to return when seeking care.
- Applying a cold gel pack to a painful area can help relieve back pain and inflammation. Ice/cold will decrease blood flow to an area, reducing inflammation. This therapy can often be used instead of using over the counter NSAIDS and can help lower the intensity or severity of pain. It is important to ice in the first few days after an injury, aggravation of an injury and some cases arthritis. For more information about the cold therapy products carried by Kentville Chiropractic please call, email or stop by the clinic.
- Heat is recommended for dealing with stiff/tight muscles and joints of the body. Heat is used most often when dealing with sprains/strains after the first 3-5 days after an injury or re-aggravation, once inflammation has decreased. Some people also get relief from arthritis aches/pains with heat therapy. Heat will increase blood flow to that area of the body. This will make the muscles relax and flush out any inflammation currently stuck in the area, bring in new healthier blood for healing. Caution must be used when applying heat as it increases blood flow and in turn increases inflammation which may be contraindicated for your condition.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol) are usually indicated for the treatment of acute or chronic conditions where pain and inflammation are present. These medications can be an effective part of pain management but should not be used as the sole method of treating a condition and have many side effects. These medications should only be taken with approval of your family physician or pharmacist.
- There are many pain relief products out there and their effectiveness depends on the individual. They can be of great benefit for reducing the intensity of pain and providing temporary relief from pain and inflammation. For more information about the products carried at Kentville Chiropractic call, email or stop by the clinic.
Self Massage / Tennis Ball
- Gently rubbing or massaging painful areas/muscles, will often provide some temporary pain relief. For hard to reach areas in the back try this: while sitting or standing against a wall, take a tennis ball and place it between your back and the back of the chair or wall. Lean back slightly to apply some light pressure with the ball on the painful area or muscle. You can hold constant pressure with no movement or slowly and lightly roll the ball over the area.
Avoid or Change Activities That Cause Pain
- Try to avoid bending, lifting and reaching activities.
- Try not to bend forward when you put on pants, boots, socks or stockings.
- Try to avoid rotation or twisting activities by keeping your nose between your toes. When you are standing with your feet shoulder width apart, keep your nose between your toes when twisting or rotating. This will limit twisting too far to one side.
- In bed or while lying down, lie on your side with the knees slightly bent and put a pillow between the knees and one under the head. Or lie on your back with a pillow under your legs and another under the head.
Pay Attention To Your Body and Posture
- Stand or sit tall without slumping or arching the back too much.
- Take care when lifting. Lift with the legs and hips. The most important thing is to maintain a neutral spine while lifting, avoiding any slumping or rounding forward of the spine.
- When sitting try placing a small pillow, rolled up towel, or lumbar support on the lower back to give extra support.
- Walking is the simplest and one of the best exercises for the lower back. Gentle walking with relaxed swinging of the arms for a moderate amount of time is the best exercise for your back and general health.
- Resting an injury within the first 2-3 days after being injured is necessary. But complete bed rest is not advised for a back injury. Pain free movement is important and helps with healing. Marching in one spot, or bringing the knees to the chest while lying down can help the lower back. Turning your head side to side throughout the day, in the range of motion that does not produce pain, can help with neck pain. Bringing your shoulders slowly forward, backwards, up and down can help the mid-back. Pain Free movement is the Key.
- When at work or at home, it is important to not remain in the same position or perform the same task for more then 15-30 minutes at one time. Constant sitting, standing, or lying down decreases the amount of blood flow and nutrients being spread to all the joints and muscles. The body uses movement to assist in delivering nutrients and keeps all the supporting structures in the back healthy. Taking Micro Breaks every 15-30 minutes to change position, perform gentle stretches or just moving around will help limit back pain. These Micro Breaks can be only 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. The key is to move around and change positions.
Take Care of Stress
- Stress can make pain worse and increase the perception of pain. Stress can increase tension in your muscles, which can cause more pain, making you worry, causing more stress. There are many effective methods for decreasing stress: Yoga, hobbies, Imagery, relaxation techniques, Meditation, Massage, deep breathing exercises, time management, muscle relaxation and many more.
- Sleep is important for the body to heal. With back pain not enough sleep can cause increased sensation of pain and muscle tension. But too much sleep may also have negative effects. Sleeping more then 6 hours may make your back stiff and tight in the morning, taking longer to get up and start moving around. This is because the body is not active during sleep and the muscles in the back may stiffen up.
Manage your Weight
- Extra body weight can put stress on your back and joints. Lifestyle changes are the best way to achieve a healthy weight. Try: improving eating habits--doing it slowly! Pick one eating habit at a time to work on. Decreasing caloric intake is the key to a healthy weight, and is the focus of all diets out there. Get Moving: physical activity, most importantly walking, should be part of an everyday routine. Start small, and build up slowly over time.
- People who smoke can take longer to heal from an injury. Research has shown that people who smoke are more likely to have back pain as nicotine and other toxins will decrease the amount of nutrients and blood flowing to the spine, increasing the chances of a spinal disc injury, longer healing times and complications.