A Chiropractor’s Back Pain Checklist:
Avoiding pain and how to handle acute back pain
By Dr. Todd P. Sullivan
As a chiropractor, my passion is to help my patients live as fulfilling a lifestyle as possible. When back pain happens, many people are shocked and depending on the severity of their pain, they may feel overwhelmed and helpless. Very few people take the initiative to research ways of preventing recurring back pain. Yet there are many simple changes that can be implemented that will reduce back pain, prevent back pain or keep it away so that you never have to deal with back pain.
When you are in pain, it is difficult to think straight, your only thought is how to get rid of the pain. When you are not in pain, it is easy to forget that your back ever bothered you; until the pain comes back. Pain is a great reminder. With that in mind, I’ve developed what I like to call “A Chiropractor’s Back Pain Checklist.” This list provides reminders on how to avoid back pain and how to deal with acute pain as it occurs.
Avoiding Back Pain
1. Make it a habit whenever possible to never sit for more than 20 minutes without getting up and moving around. Of course this is not always possible, but do it when you can.
2. When driving, stop every two hours to get out and walk around.
3. Avoid high heeled shoes. Wear shoes that are well made, comfortable and have a good supporting arch.
4. Get regular exercise such as swimming, rowing, walking and cycling. Avoid exercises that put strain on your back such as golfing, tennis and weight lifting. Your abdominal muscles help to support your back; therefore, it is important to learn exercises that strengthen your abdominal wall to help prevent back pain. This is especially true for women who have given birth.
5. When sitting you should have your knees a little higher than your hips. A small stool will easily accomplish this.
6. Use proper lifting techniques and never bend over at the waist, always bend at the knees.
7. Do not pull large objects, push them.
8. Keep your weight at a healthy level. Extra body weight will put unnecessary stress on your back.
Dealing with Acute Back Pain
If you find yourself in acute pain and can not get into a chiropractor’s office immediately, use the following recommendations:
1. For back pain caused by muscle injuries ice for the first 48 hours, no more than 20 minutes at a time every hour. Typically pain that starts after an injury or sudden movement is muscle pain.
2. After 48 hours you can use heat. Use a moist heating pad, a very hot towel or soak in a very warm bath.
3. As soon as you start having pain, drink two 12 ounce glasses of water. Dehydration can cause muscle aches including back pain.
4. Avoid motions or positions that irritate the pain until you are able to get check out by your chiropractor.
Following the above recommendations will help you to prevent back pain. However, in the event you do suffer acute back pain, follow the directions above and get into a chiropractor’s office as soon as possible. Proper diagnosis and treatment is necessary for over all health and wellness.