Every day millions of people wake up in either new or existing low back pain. In fact, low back pain is the number 1 disability in the U.S. accounting for more than 24 million cases annually. With these numbers rising and the rates of opioid prescriptions for pain management decreasing due to the opioid epidemic, the serious question of what do we do when we experience low back pain raises the bar for what our healthcare system needs to do as a whole. Chiropractic can provide some insight!
First thing first, if you experience low back pain whether sudden onset or gradual to the point you are becoming limited in your activities of daily living, you should seek care from a medical professional. Chiropractic is a wonderful choice when deciding who to see for back pain, and at Empower Chiropractic, we strive to provide you the very best care all designed around what you need. After scheduling an appointment to be seen however, you may still have some time before your appointment. There are a few tips we have that you can do at home or work to help manage your pain.
If you experience sudden onset of pain in your low back, which can happen in a multitude of ways, some sound advice that is safe to do first is to get an ice pack and place it on top of the painful spot in the back for 20 minutes at a time. It's important to note that with ice, you can have it on for too long so our general advice is 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
After icing the injury, you may notice that it temporarily feels a little better, this is because of the ice which creates a numbing effect wherever the ice is applied. It is important to not misinterpret feeling better temporarily for your problem is fixed, do not go back to doing what you were doing when the injury occurred, especially if the injury is new, you may risk injuring your back further. Wait until you are seen by Dr. Brunner at Empower Chiropractic to identify the extent of the injury and what you need to do for it.
If you experience gradually worsening pain this may be due to an overuse injury to lower back. It is still recommended to get checked first at Empower Chiropractic if you have worsening symptoms, but a safe and easy check you can do for yourself sometimes is to lie face down on a soft surface like carpet, place your elbows underneath your armpits, and press your chest up to the ceiling. This will cause a small amount of extension in your low back and if that helps relieve some of the pain then great! If it causes more pain then come back down slowly and flip over onto your back and practice deep belly breathes which will in turn activate your diaphragm. What you are doing is finding which way helps relieve your pain, extension or flexion. Gradually worsening pain over time is often a good indicator you are experiencing an overuse injury meaning a repetitive motion is causing your pain to worsen. This occurs often when people are bent forward a large part of their day such as when at work. Therefore, extension based exercises can be beneficial in counteracting the flexion that occurs daily and can be an easy way to help relieve pain.
As always, it is best to call Dr. Brunner at Empower Chiropractic in Shawnee, Kansas first with any questions you may have and to schedule an appointment to get checked. Once you're in the office Dr. Brunner will help you identify exactly what you need to do in order to get better the quickest. Call us today if you have any questions! 913-278-1598