Monday, July 2, 2012

Tips to Relieve Back Pain

Back pain is a constant daily part of my life. I have lived with extreme back pain for 2 years now. Fortunately there are things that do, and can help it. My pain was from the car wreck I was in on October 10, 2010. My spine was out 7 degrees. Normally a spine only goes out 2-3 degrees. I had a wonderful S.O.N.A.R. Chirporactor (link to website here) who was able to work wonders on my back and get me to a functioning level after many, many long months.

This is a small collection of tips to help with back pain caused from car wrecks. If you have any questions just leave me a comment!

1. Sit with both your feet flat on the floor! This seems very small, and very sillly, but seriously...when you are at the dinning room table, sitting on the couch, sitting at a desk, sitting in the car, sitting anywhere, SIT WITH YOUR FEET ON THE FLOOR! When you sit with your legs crossed you cause pressure in your back which makes it flare up and become more painful than necessary. I am the worst at keeping both my feet on the floor, but when my back is in terrible pain and I sit properly it starts to help right away.
2. Ice is your friend! Ice is an inflimation reducer. Heat causes blood flow to increase, ice causes blood flow to decrease. When you are in pain pull an ice pack out of the freezer and put it on your back. Make sure to have a hand towel or shirt wrapped around the ice so that you don't damage your skin from direct contact with the ice. Even when you are wearing a shirt you should still wrap the ice pack in a towel.
3. Sit with your knees propped in bed! Don't sit in bed reading a book or surfing the internet with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Make 90 degree angles with your legs and back. You should have plenty of pillows to prop your back at an angle, and another good pillow or two to keep your knees at an angle. This will help reduce mid-to-low back pain.
4. Go for a walk! Exercise is good for anyone, but walking is especially good for those of us with back pain. Walking makes your muscles work and give them something to focus on. If you have a treadmill I suggest starting at 3-5 minutes and working up to 15-30. 30 is best, but after my wreck it took me almost a year to be able to walk 30 minutes so start small and don't feel bad. (I had to start at five minutes because of my physical therapist, Mike.)
5. Do stretches! Stretches for your back can work wonders. For several months I spent an hour or two doing stretches because they made my back feel so much better. Some stretches can injure you though so if you are doing this on your own go slowly. Basic stretches like sitting on the floor and putting your legs straight out in front of you and then leaning over and reaching for your toes are generally a great place to start.
6. Get some Biofreeze! Biofreeze is a pain relief rub which has menthol in it. This is my favorite fast pain releif method, especially if you get the roll-on kind. Just grab it roll in one direction to apply to the affected area (you can use this on your neck and other joints as well) and then wait for the cold feeling to hit and cut that pain in half.
7. Do a back rest exercise. The back rest is a position which you can do to let your lower back rest without tension. Basically you need a couch or chair tall enough for you to lay on the floor and your legs will be propped up. Lay on your back with your bum against the bottom of the couch, your knees should be bent and your calves resting on the couch. If you need, put a pillow under your legs for better support. Lay with your arms by your sides and your head straight, not to either side. Do this for at least 20 minutes. You can go longer if you are not uncomfortable.

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