Elevation Physiotherapy | What 4 Things to do FIRST When Back Pain Begins
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What 4 Things to do FIRST When Back Pain Begins

What 4 Things to do FIRST When Back Pain Begins

  1. Stop trying to figure out WHY and just get on with it!

Of course, pain is not normal– it’s your body telling you that something is going on. You do need to pay some attention. Most of the time back pain begins for no obvious reason– you could just wake up with it, or some harmless movement like bending forward to pick something up starts a sudden pain. When this happens, it’s scary. It’s also human nature to wonder what the heck happened, and you can wrack your brain to try to figure it out, but most of the time you won’t know for sure. Most commonly it is cumulative stressors to your back that creates the problem– it finally just has enough, then you’ll do something innocuous– like wash your foot, and you can’t get up. Try to keep moving as best as you can.

  1. How much are you sitting? HOW are you sitting?

It has been shown that people who have desk jobs have more of a risk of back pain than construction workers. Sitting is hard for your back, and your body is meant to move. In life, many people spend WAY too much time sitting– not just at the computer, but traveling to and from work or school, sitting to eat all of your meals, and all entertainment (TV, out for dinner or a pub, reading)– all sitting!

If you’ve been sitting in any chair for awhile, odds are you’re relaxed into it and assumed a slouching position. This slumped posture is the same thing as being fully bent forward as far as your back goes. Fully. Forward. Evidence shows this is a position of vulnerability for your back, and how much do you do it? Every day, likely for long periods. For details on correcting your sitting posture, refer to the post on proper sitting posture.

  1. WHERE is the pain?

Does your back pain stay local, or do you feel something in your butt? Your leg? Is it all on one side or is it both? Does it come and go, or is it truly always there? All important questions you need to assess. If you’re feeling pain away from your back into your butt or lower, that pain is likely referred from your back itself. Even if your leg hurts more than your back, it’s very common that the source of this pain is coming from your back. Location, location, location. It’s the radiating leg pain that you want to address first, and start looking at different back positions to see if any can help the pain.

  1. WHAT happens when you lie on your stomach?

This can be a weird movement for some, and many people never spend time in this position. Lying down on your stomach keeps you not weight-bearing through your back, and has your spine in a fairly neutral position. Try to be here for a few minutes, and just see if any back, buttock or leg pain starts to settle down. This is a positive sign when that happens, but don’t worry if you don’t notice any change.

The most efficient thing to do from here is get to your Physiotherapist or Chiropractor. This person should be asking you the above questions, and you can easily give them this information– this will help form an individualized program that will help you settle this pain quickly, then work to prevent this from happening again!