OK, for the time-pressed amongst you, who don’t want to wade through all my other posts on active-x clinics here are the 6 top tips for lower back pain.
1. Use it or Lose it, but Don’t Abuse it! (UIOLIBDAI)
This is the master-tip! Movement is essential to maintaining health and good function (if you’ve had pain for more than 3 months, this advice may need to be modified a bit; there’s evidence that if you’ve had pain for longer than 3 months, you may have to move despite some pain). Do whatever movement you can that doesn’t hurt – it may seem insignificant to you, but it helps your nervous system (which is not happy when you’re in pain) to settle down a bit. So, if all you can do is lie on your back, moving one leg up and down, then DO IT! More on this in our video dealing with pain.
2. Walk more
I know this seems like the same as Tip no. 1, but it’s worth stressing the value of walking. Apply the UIOLIBDAI rule – if walking 500 meters aggravates it, but you can walk 200 meters, then walk 200 meters!
3. Vary it
Try to break up activities into smaller doses. Walk 5 times a day, in between other chores. Don’t sit for more than your back will tolerate (preferably without pain).
4. Sit better
The vast majority of lower back pains are aggravated by sitting (remember UIOLIBDAI). Watch our video on ergonomics; these rules apply at home as well as at work.
5. Take a break
While it’s important to stay active through a bout of back pain (use it or lose it), there is often an argument for little breaks which allow your nervous system and your muscles the chance to relax and recover. Sometimes the best way of taking a break is lying down – that gives muscles and discs (and other bits) a rest. You may find that if you lie for long (like overnight) it’s worse when you try to move again; that’s why it’s important not to rest all the time (remember UIOLIBDAI).
6. Don’t worry!
As my Mum used to say “worrying about it won’t make it better” (actually I don’t think she did ever say that; it’s more likely I’d say that to her!). In fact the research indicates that worrying about pain is likely to make the pain worse. If you’re worried, consult an expert – give us a ring! We’ll put your mind at rest… It might cost you a penny or two, but you’ll get better faster!