Have you ever been in a situation where you need a doctor, but it is after your doctor’s business hours, or it is a weekend? That seems to be the time when most of these issues crop up, doesn’t it? So, what do you do? You could go to the Emergency Room. Today with all the health situations in the world, that does not seem like a good choice. Maybe the best choice would be to try to do something at home to help the problem.
Since low back pain has been the topic of the month for our blogs in April, I will focus on low back issues for our discussion. Let’s assume that you have had a bout of low back pain crop up unexpectedly and you decide to try to get through the weekend without seeking any physician. What should you do?
A quick Google search might bring you to the WebMD sponsored page on low back pain titled Low Back Pain Relief at Home. Most of the advice there is pretty much on the preventative side of the problem. Keeping moving, good posture, cutting back on your weight, and stop smoking are not the answers you are looking for when you have a current low back pain that won’t let you sit, stand, or sleep without excruciating discomfort.
Other suggestions from other articles seem to parrot the same treatment line. That line being over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, heat, ice, and proper support when sleeping for your low back. Spine-health.com offered similar home treatments such as reducing inflammation by drinking anti-inflammatory drinks like turmeric milk or tart cherry juice every day. The problem is that you have the pain now and need the treatment now.Spine-health.com offered similar home treatments such as reducing inflammation by drinking anti-inflammatory drinks like turmeric milk or tart cherry juice every day. The problem is that you have the pain now and need the treatment now.
Are those really my only options?
Pain relief comes from reducing pressure that is on a nerve. That can be mechanical pressure or inflammatory pressure. This was discussed in my blog about inflammation. Inflammation it turns out can help bring natural pain relievers to the painful area, but it does need to be controlled. That’s why I advise ice packs lasting 20 minutes for the first 12 to 24 hours as needed and then moist heat lasting for 10 minutes (with a 30-minute break between applications) as needed after that.
One of the “tricks of the trade” as a chiropractor is to figure out which movement make the pain feel worse, and then advise people not to move in that direction. This means that it would be a good idea to stand up and bend forward and after a few moments return to the upright position and lean backward. Which direction felt better, and which direction made you hurt more? If you felt better bending forward, then sitting leaning forward on a chair and sleeping on your back are positions that should feel good to you. If you felt better leaning backward, leaning back in a La-Z-Boy chair, and sleeping on your tummy or at least in a half-tummy sleeping position will feel good to you.
As mentioned above from the Google search articles, movement will help reduce pain. This does not mean you need to take long hikes, go ride a bicycle, or do strenuous activity. For low back pain, something as simple as sitting on the front edge of a chair and rotating around in circles from your waist up will be enough to do the trick. Rotate 10 times in one direction and then 10 times in the opposite direction. Do the movements that make you feel good and remember if this causes an increase in pain for more than 30 minutes it was too much for you.
Over the counter pain relievers are a great stop gap until you can get to see your chiropractor. These taken with turmeric to decrease the inflammation can be very effective. Light massage can be super effective and relaxing as well. Most people tend to massage too deeply for these types of fresh low back pain problems, so remind your helper to go easy and work your way into deeper massage.
Be sure and call your chiropractor right away. In my case, I respond as soon as I possibly can and will help guide you through some things until we can see you when my office is open. Always remember that the pain is the last symptom to show up and the first symptom to go away. It may not seem like it now, but you will get through this.