A few years ago, we used to tell every patient with an acute lower back injury to rest, most commonly laying in a face up position for as long as possible to rest the injured structures. However, we now know that this could actually make the injury worse. The injured structures require gentle movement to increase blood flow and stimulate healing from day one. Resting not only does not aide the healing process but it also promotes a fear of movement (kinesiophobia) which is very detrimental to the healing process. Make an effort to perform some gentle aerobic exercise such as walking or cross training to ease stiffness and pain.
Use pain reducing strategies
Some basic pain relieving strategies include:
- Ice – Use an ice pack wrapped it in a wet towel. Apply to the injured area for 20 minutes every three hours
- Heat – Use a hot pack wrapped it in a wet towel. Apply to the injured area for 20 minutes every three hours
- Note: You can use either heat, ice or both, they all work through mostly the same mechanism to reduce pain. It is generally recommended to use ice in acute (short term) injuries but there is little evidence to support this.
- Self-massage – This can be applied 72 hours after the injury occurred (to ensure no inflammatory process), certain tools like lacrosse balls or foam rollers can be used to do this. Use some gentle pressure over the muscles of your back and work into sore points. Don’t push this too hard or you will cause a bruise.
- Medication – Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for information on pain reducing medications
Don’t worry !
Lower back pain can be scary especially when it’s fairly severe. It’s easy to start wondering if there is any light at the end of the tunnel which would get anyone down. This is fairly normal. Lower back pain is an extremely common condition which has been shown to have an 84% prevalence in the developed world and most bouts resolve within six weeks of onset. Worrying about the issue will promote a fear of it and this can develop fear of movement which will not aid the healing process.
When to see a professional
Really there is no bad time to see a professional if you are struggling with lower back pain. Whether it be a doctor or a physiotherapist, both will conduct a thorough assessment to rule out anything serious and come up with a diagnosis where treatment can be applied. Here at Joints and Points, we offer a private physiotherapy service where we aim to see you within 48 hours of you contacting us. Additionally we offer talking therapy service for those who are struggling with pain or other issues associated with mental health.
If you need help or advice, our physiotherapists and sports therapist’s at J&P are here to help get you back to health. Contact us to book an appointment, or find out more.
0151 345 6823 – Office Number firstname.lastname@example.org – Office email