Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stop Making your Low Back Pain Worse.

Today’s post comes from my March newsletter that I mail to all of my patients.

I often get many questions about what to do and what not to do when some one is in pain. Should I use ice or heat? What kind of exercise should I help me feel better ? Can I still work at my job with this pain ? When a patient enters my office for treatment of their lower back, it may include spinal manipulation, adjustments, muscle therapy, or non surgical spinal decompression. It also includes patient education in regards to heat/ice, performing daily activities and exercise. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about lower back pain:

  1. Should I use Heat or Ice?

    This topic is controversial, as often, patients will be told by their friends and family to use the opposite of what we may recommend to our patients. Often times when pain is presents inflammation also exists. Ice Therapy works best on this becuse it reduces the swelling and provides an analgesic effect (pain relief). When heat is improperly used during this inflammatory phase of healing, vasodilation or, an increase in blood supply to the already swollen injured area often results in an increase in pain. The use of heat may be safely applied later in the healing process during the reparative phase of healing, but as long as pain is present, using ice is usually safer and more effective.

  2. Can I continue with my Daily Activities or my job?
    Improper methods of performing sitting, bending, pulling, pushing, and lifting can perpetuate the inflammatory phase, slow down the healing process, increase pain and interfere/prevent people from returning to their desired activities of daily living, especially work. Improperly performing these routine activities is similar to picking at scab since you’re delaying the healing process and you can even make things worse for yourself. Sometimes it is better to wait and allow your body to heal before jumping into your regular activities.

  3. Can I Exercise?
    There are many exercises available for patients with low back pain. When deciding on the type of exercise, the position the patient feels best or, the least irritating is usually the direction to emphasize.

    More specifically, for those who feel a reduction in pain when bending forward (referred to as "flexion-biased"), flexion exercises are usually indicated. Examples of these low back exercises include:

    • raising a single knee to chest
    • double knee to chest
    • posterior pelvic tilts
    • sitting forward flexion
    • hamstring stretches

    When bending backwards results in pain reduction (referred to as "extension-biased"), standing and bending backwards, performing a sagging type of pushup ("prone press-up"), laying backwards on large pillows or on a gym-ball are good exercises. The dosage or duration exercises must be determined individually and it is typically safer to start with 1 or 2 exercises and gradually increase the number as well as repetition and/or hold-times. If sharp/"bad" pain is noted, the patient is warned to discontinue that exercise and report this for further discussion with their chiropractor. It is normal and often a good sign when stretching/"good" pain is obtained at the end range of the exercise.

At CT Spine and Disc Center, we have recognized the importance of patient education in our approach to managing low back pain cases, and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

CT Spine and Disc Center is located in Central Connecticut, in Glastonbury- Specializing in patients who suffer from sciatica, disc degeneration, bulging disc or herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Call us at (860)633-8756 to see if you are a candidate for non surgical spinal decompression

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