Q: Sometimes I get very low grade back pain after I carry groceries for my wife. I don’t want to see anyone about it, so what can I do?
A: Back pain can range from barely noticeable to practically paralyzing. There’s no dispute that chiropractic treatment can help, especially in bringing relief to acute low back pain. But patients can take steps, too, to help reduce inflammation and pain and restore flexibility.
Ice, for instance, is effective in reducing inflammation and easing pain. Never apply ice directly to your skin. The easiest way to make an ice pack is to put cubes in a plastic bag and put it inside of a T-shirt. Apply ice in 10 minute increments, at least three times successively, with at least a 10 minute break between applications. Heat, on the other hand, increases blood flow to an area and can help with healing. There are several methods for applying heat. You could heat a moist towel in a microwave and wrap it inside of a dry towel, use a conventional electric heating pad, or choose from products available at your pharmacy. Moist heat is always recommended. Caution, if you use heat on an acute and swollen injury, it may feel comforting for a short time but will increase the amount of swelling in the area and could increase your pain.
But a good way to avoid lower back problems is to exercise and strengthen and stretch abdominal and back muscles. Just one example is an exercise called the pelvic tilt. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms by your side, your feet about hip-width apart and your knees up. Flatten the small of your back against the floor and hold for 10 seconds. Talk with your chiropractor about exercises and the value of heat and ice for your particular problem. There are many ways that you could prevent problems right at home with the right instruction. Any chiropractic office should be able to show you these very important and easy exercises. You are going to need to be active about this problem because if you let it get bad, you will likely need to go to your chiropractor regularly to get it under control.
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