Spine related disorder

What to Do if Your Back Goes Out

The weekend is here, and access to your chiropractor may be limited. The problem is back injuries don’t always wait for normal office hours. So, what do you you do if your back goes out, and it’s a weekend?

What to do if your back goes out:

The good news is, most back pain is caused by muscle and ligament strain or weakness, and may actually go away within 2-3 days without necessarily seeing a chiropractic doctor.

However, call your chiropractor if your back pain:

  • Has not improved with rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications.
  • Is severe (greater than 6 on a numeric pain intensity scale), OR lasts longer than a 2-3 days.
  • Is the result of a significant slip, fall, or lifting injury.
  • Is accompanied by fever, trouble passing urine, numbness in your lower legs or muscle weakness.*

* In these cases, your chiropractic doctor may look for a more serious medical condition causing your back pain, and refer you to the appropriate medical physician.

How to lower your risk of having low-back pain:

  • Try to do some form of exercise or physical activity every day. Regular, low-impact activities, like brisk walking or bicycling, can increase lower back muscle strength.
  • We live in Ohio. Have an exercise plan for rainy weather. Treadmills or stationary bikes are as beneficial as outdoor exercises.
  • Whatever exercise or physical activity you do, start slowly if you are just beginning to be more active. And, allow a day of rest in between to reduce the likelihood of injury.
  • Take frequent breaks on car trips (at least every two hours) to get out, walk around and loosen up your lower back muscles.
  • When lifting objects, brace your abdomen, lift with your legs and hold the object close to your body. Do not twist while lifting.
  • Watch your weight. Extra weight, especially around your mid-section, can strain lower back muscles over time.
  • When you are sitting for long periods of time, support your lower back to maintain its natural curve.
  • Quit smoking cigarettes. Smoking can lead to pain by blocking your body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the discs and other tissues in your lower back.

Tips to reduce your lower back pain:

  • Take it easy but continue your usual activities if you can. Walking around every 30 minutes can help ease stiffness and relieve pain. Bed rest is NOT recommended.
  • Place an ice pack against your back 10 minutes on/10 minutes off/10 minutes on— several times a day for the first couple days. (Try a bag of frozen vegetables.)
  • If you feel like heat would help, use moist heat like taking a hot bath, shower or using a microwave heating pad; a dry electric heating pad is NOT recommended.
  • If that does not relieve your pain, try a topical rub-on gel like Biofreeze.
  • While sleeping, try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to relieve pressure.

If you’re still having lower back pain, please contact us to set up an appointment.

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