First, you can help yourself a lot by knowing the difference between having low back pain and having a low back injury. Here is a good example: if someone punches you on the jaw and it hurts your tooth you have a dental injury; if you just happen to wake up with a tooth ache you have a tooth pain. Treatment for a recent injury will usually be different than something that you just woke up with one morning.

Here is how to tell the difference and brief tips on how to help yourself.

Is it an injury or some other cause of low back pain?

Does the low back pain happens after you sit for a while but walking is pain free and even makes you feel better? Then you are more likely to have a long-term subtle reason for your pain. Walking, and exercises that return the movement to your spine will be a good idea as long as the exercises don’t increase your pain. The Foundation Training videos are a great example of simple exercises you can try. They often give great relief after sport activities like playing tennis, softball or long bike rides.  You can see a Foundation Training video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOgxWp0WyiI

Did you suffer a  fresh injury as in a fall or an unexpected movement while lifting a heavy weight? If so, if you notice swelling and heat in the area use ice packs 15 minutes each hour with the ice pack over a cloth or paper towel, never directly on the skin. A bag of frozen veggies or crushed ice in a baggie can act as an ice pack. In this situation resting in bed for a while is recommended rather than laying on a couch.

Sometimes, wearing a back brace when the injury is recent, can be helpful. However, wearing a back brace for weeks or months will weaken muscles that support the joints.The trick is to hit a happy medium with back braces and wear them only in the event of a fresh injury and not so much if you just woke up with the pain.

A couple more self help tips

Learn proper body mechanics for every day activities like sleeping, sitting, standing, lifting. Avoiding little traumas to your lower back discs and joints from bad postures can really help in the long run. If you wish to improve your posture here is a link to an excellent and well illustrated book showing you how to do this is called “True To Form” by Dr. Eric Goodman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huZ9eJ6i9PQ

Finally, whatever the cause of your lower back pain, get chiropractic care as soon as possible. Chiropractic care can speed healing of the injured joints, discs or muscles. We examine all new injuries and if there is anything serious wrong, we refer you out to the proper specialist. However, most back and neck pain injuries or aches and pains respond well to chiropractic care. Not only does aligning the joints help them heal in proper orientation, but the muscle trigger point work we do helps you regain your health even when you have had pain for a long time.

Learning what to do and what not to do goes a long way in helping you get out of pain and back to good health sooner rather than later. If you feel you need some help with either a long standing problem or a recent injury, simply give us a call at 978-535-6155.