Back pain is no joke and affects most of us at some point. Most will resolve once we have a rest from what was aggravating it like the gardening or office chair. Gently moving around, it will subside after a week or 2.
What if after a few weeks it doesn’t what then? You return to the GP, and they send you for an x-ray which is normal and then a possible MRI or the physio.
Here are my 8 tips to help you if you are in this situation.
DO visit the Osteopath. There will be a reason why the back has not resolved. An osteopath is best placed to find out why because we are trained in checking nothing serious is going on by testing the nerves, muscles and organs. Then we can examine you to find out whats stopping the low back from healing.
DON”T stop moving about. For your spine to heal it needs movement. The disc and surrounding tissue has a relatively poor blood supply and requires the pumping action of the spine to move fluids around. By resting too much, we reduce this pump, and the pain continues. It ‘s nice to take a rest mid day on the bed or floor, but remain pottering around gently walking. Some office workers find a few days of gentle activity rather than the normal standing or sitting will help. Rather than worrying about your core or back strength, just find a gentle exercise or class you enjoy (important) and do it once or twice a week along with walking (very important). Stick to it for at least 9 months if as you would when training for a marathon. The changes won’t happen over night. Its a long term approach which works.
DON’T rely on the MRI giving you all the information. These are not Star Trek scans of our moving body, but a snapshot of the spine while lying down. They can provide useful information but can throw up false positives and negatives. Many people when scanned for other reasons will show disc bulges with no pain. Likewise some people have pain and no disc bulge. I’ve covered this before here in a blog post here. Scanning should be done for a reason not because you can’t find a diagnosis.
DO take a natural anti-inflammatory like turmeric. While prescribed or OTC medication has its place in the short term. Long term side effects can cause more problems than they solve. The spice Turmeric has shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory in many studies. Use it with oil and black pepper to aid absorption. This approach should be addressed with a low inflammatory diet to get you off the pills and allow your body to produce the anti-inflammatory compounds its self. Again you will find more information here in this post.
DO get to bed at a decent time. Sleep is when we heal. If you are only getting 5/6 hours a night then no wonder your back still hurts. The more hours we get before 12, the better. Wake at the same time each day and Do stop using phones and laptops 3 hours before bed as the blue light will keep you up or reduce the sleep quality. Use blue light blocking glasses or screens and turn off some house lights in the evening. Don’t leave this out of the pathway to being pain-free.
DO start a pain diary. Ther path back to health is a long one, and you will forget what you have or haven’t done. Write it down or use an app on your phone. Track pain levels and other important points such as distance walked, hours slept, waist diameter,
DON’T worry about your weight and go on a calorie reduced diet. This is a recipe for pain and disappointment. Weight is not the main factor for your pain. While fat cells will cause inflammation so reducing your waistline is important. Concentrate on increasing fresh food and lowering any processed or dry foods such as bread, flours, cereals. only shop around the outside of the supermarket. To make the significant changes necessary, I prescribe the SCD diet to my patients who are finding no relief. Its restrictive but effective in healing the gut and your back.
DON’T give up hope. The one thing which will guarantee your back pain to remain is your attitude. I’ve seen many episodes that last years but fully resolve. Likewise, I’ve seen many which never get better, but the person has given up and been told it will never heal. Only you have the power to remain optimistic.
Unfortunately back pain is a much bigger subject than these 8 points. Please go to Nourishedback to find much more information and a free download once you subscribe. This gives you more information to start your journey out of chronic pain.