Over 80% of New Zealander’s will experience back pain in their lifetime, so chances are you are one of them. There can be various triggers, from injuries such as whiplash or a slipped disc, to slouching in chairs and bad posture, and although its most commonly felt in the lower back, it can be felt anywhere from your spine to your hips. Back pain may be mildly uncomfortable through to severely painful and debilitating. Some back pain is caused by more serious disease but most is caused by dysfunction of the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and body. Back pain can be difficult to navigate, here are some tips to help achieve some level of comfort and pain relief.
Keep active and moving even when you have pain. Gentle walking, swimming and stretching will prevent stiffness. You may need to take it easy at first with tasks like lifting and bending. Bed rest can make your back pain worse, so get up and about. An Osteopath can advise you on safe, appropriate exercises that will support your back. Although pain can make you feel like keeping to yourself, it’s important to catch up with friends and continue with your hobbies and interests as much as possible.
GET BACK TO WORK
Getting back to work quickly keeps you involved with others, gets you into a routine and helps you focus on something other than your back pain. If you can’t manage full days at work at first, talk to your employer about easing back into your job. This could involve working part of the days at first, or it could mean that for a time you avoid doing those parts of your job that will make your back feel worse, like heavy lifting. If your work involves lots of sitting, make sure you get up and stretch regularly. It’s good to
do this whether or not you have a sore back!
AVOID BED REST
Research shows that you should avoid bed rest with back pain. Staying active can help reduce your pain and shorten recovery time in most cases. An Osteopath can advise you on the right level of activity for you.
EASE YOUR PAIN
There are over-the-counter medications available to help you manage your back pain so don’t try to ‘tough it out’. Talk to a health professional about what might work best for you.
TAKE ACTION IF YOU DON’T GET BETTER
If you’re not feeling better after a few days then seek additional treatment. An osteopath can help you treat and manage your back pain. An osteopath can identify the factors contributing to your specific back problem and design a treatment plan and management programme just right for you. They’ll also check if any underlying health conditions could be contributing to your back pain. Their aim will be to get you back to full movement and enjoying life again.