Dos and Don’ts During Low Back Pain

Low back pain may suddenly occur, irrespective of time or place and often when we least expect it. While there are certain self-help methods that may prove to be of immense help, many of these can fail or even make the condition worse. The following are a few dos and don’ts while self-managing back pain:

Ice vs. Heat: What should be applied?

This is a very common question during low back pain. This decision may turn out to be either useful or hurtful, based on the condition. Normally, ice is good since it vasoconstricts and pushes swelling or inflammation out, which feels quite relieving although the early touch of ice will not be very appealing to most! This is a reason why many people wrongly opt for heat as their early course of self-treatment.
This is actually wrong as heat vasodilates, which means, it drives blood into the wounded part that was already swollen and inflamed, hence adding extra fluid to those areas. While heat may feel great initially, soon it will increase the pain intensity. If you’re suffering from chronic LBP, heat may be helpful, because it calms the muscles and makes movement better by curing stiffness. One of the greatest mistakes while using heat is leaving it on for a long time. Some people even get burnt! DO NOT DO THAT!
How to apply ice?
While using ice, there are several ways of applying it. In case you only have a few minutes in hand, that would be enough! An ideal way of applying the ice bag is as follows: On 15 min, then off 15 min (repeat this for about 1:15 hr). The “off 15 minutes” is to let the area get warmed by allowing blood to return to the lower back region.
Contrast Therapy
Another great approach to cure lower back pain is the Contrast Therapy. In this case, you begin and finish off with ice but apply heat in between as follows: Apply ice for 10 minutes then heat for 5 minutes and so on till 40 minutes. This method generates a stronger push and pull action that drives out inflammation (ice) and drives in fluids (heat). Both these approaches are useful.
How active should you be?
Many people have the tendency to get up and start working the moment they start feeling better. It is our nature to get our work done as soon as possible and so we often push our limits beyond the capacity of our tissues which may lead to injury. Even after hurting our back, we still try to carry on with our daily routine, ignoring the pain. This may make things worse.

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