Care for Lower Back Pain
First Rule for a painful back is GO TO BED and STAY THERE
...until you are pain free. A good rule is to lie down for 1 hour, then get up and walk around for a few minutes to limber up, then lie down for another hour. Remember, your back heals much quicker when you lie down.
DON'T sleep on a soft, "sprung" mattress.
If your bed is over 4 years old, chances are it's too soft. If it sags at all it will retard healing.
DO sleep on a FIRM bed
It is important to lie on a firm, relatively "hard" bed whose mattress will not sag in the middle but will "give" enough to conform to the natural contours of your body. Also, it's best to sleep alone to avoid the jostling of the bedfellow.
A board under your mattress won't do because, instead of conforming to your spine, it "irons" out natural curves and makes for increased back pain.
When lying on back, put a pillow under your knees. This relaxes the back muscles, thus removing strain and relieving pain.
NO Tummy Sleeping
Lying face down places an added strain on the neck and back. Avoid it.
When lying on your side, bend knees 45°. This also helps relax back muscles. Place a pillow between the knees. Actually, any position you find comfortable is a correct one for you to lie in. The body's reaction will always indicate the position of greatest ease for you...
How to rise from a lying down position without pain.
In order to rise from a lying down position, lie on your side, near the edge of the bed, feet still on the bed. Then, keeping spine and legs in line, ease feet forward off mattress.
Now, push upward with hands and elbows, allowing legs and feet to act as counterweight.
Then, using your hands to push your body upwards, slowly swing feet to floor without allowing spine to sag and you will attain a sitting posture on the edge of the bed.
How to rise from a sitting position painlessly..
First: Move buttocks close to forward edge of chair.
Second: Spread feet apart and plant them well under forward edge of chair.
Third: Lean body forward approximately 15" and rise to standing position, using leg muscles.
Do not try to push yourself up with hands on legs. This places the weight of your torso forward on your spine, thus straining it further.
sit down except for eating or in the bathroom.
Don't sit in soft, upholstered chairs, recliners, rockers, etc. People are apt to think reclining in such chairs is the same as lying down. It isn't. It simply adds to the pressure and strain on your spine.
sit in a straight-back hard chair with a feather pillow (not foam rubber) on the seat. You'll be surprised how much ease this combination will give you.
Sitting or Standing...
Remember, the weight of your torso, pressing down on your injured back, is exactly the same, sitting or standing, which is one of the chief reasons we keep repeating, get off your feet or seat and lie down as much as possible... and don't sit in that chair without a cushion. It'll hurt!
Ice: YES! Heat: NO!
Five to ten times a day, place ice packs over the injured areas; 20 minutes at a time. Never use a hot water bottle or heating pads. Heat brings additional fluid into an already swollen part, temporarily easing pain, but actually increasing the problem. Ice numbs pain, reduces swelling and speeds healing.
NO tub Baths
Don't soak or bathe in a tub of water. The tub forces your body into an unnatural bending of the spine. All your doctor's efforts will be negated because your spine cannot maintain an aligned, normal position when forced into an unnatural curve by the conformation of the tub.
Take fast, hot showers.
A shower is the best bath method. Take it just before bedtime.
Have the water hot as you can stand it and have it fast. Hit the painful area of your spine and meanwhile move the hips as though pedaling a bicycle. Immediately after showering, go to bed. Never take a hot shower and then sit down, as this tends to slip the spinal vertebrae out of alignment.
Walking Increases Circulation.
When you start feeling better and feel like walking around, walk around the outside of your house (or a similar distance), then go back to bed quickly and apply an ice pack on the affected part.
Walking acts as a pump, removing injured tissue fluid and bringing new nourishment. The ice will reduce discomfort. Don't walk around and then sit!
DON'T relax the spasm.
When you have an injured joint, nerve or disc, your body automatically bends away from the injury in order to let it heal without the body's weight pressing down on it. You are bent and locked by a muscle spasm, into the position most favorable for healing. This is called the...
Normal Antalgic Posture.
It is imperative not to relax these spasms by means of muscle relaxers, heat, hot baths, etc. If you do, the body will return to the upright position, pressing its weight on the injured nerve or tissue. A mild slipped disc can be ruptured by inadvised home remedies. Follow only the doctor's instructions.
Move about S-L-O-W-L-Y!
When you feel better and can move around, do it in slow motion. This applies to bending, sitting down, getting up...everything. This doesn't mean you must move stiffly ...just carefully and s-l-o-w-l-y.
This means NO HOUSE CLEANING
If your job requires lifting, bending or stooping, take time off.
Don't indulge in physical sports, exercises or sexual relations. Any of the foregoing activities puts added strain on your already damaged back.
NO Prolonged Standing
... such as ironing, cooking, shopping. Live on frozen dinners or "take home", prepared foods.
NO Car or Boat Rides
...except, if you must, to the office. The repeated jolts and vibrations of a car or boat can do as much damage to your back as a fall. Imagine what a prolonged series of hammer blows would do to your damaged back and you 'II have an idea of what a car or boat ride will do.
Avoid Nervous tension!
With a painful back, you're apt to be abnormally irritable. This is no time to "blow your top" in heated arguments or family "rhubarbs". Nervous tension means muscular tension and that means increased back pain. Take it easy...play it cool and stay comfortable.
Overweight? Lose It!
Spinal bones and tissues are designed to carry 60-75 lbs. If you are overweight, this added burden is pressing down and pulling your spine out of line. Prolonged overweight will compress and destroy discs and ligaments and make you a spinal cripple. Lose extra weight, starting now!
Anyone with a damaged spine should not wear high heels. They cause the pelvis to rotate forward, which increases the curve of your lower back. This will compress already damaged tissues and cause increased pain. By all means, stick to low heeled shoes or boots..
Last but NOT Least...
is to follow the treatment plan. If a brace is prescribed, wear it. If tissue-healing minerals are recommended, take them. The healing of a damaged back is a 50-50 proposition ... 1/2 the doctors' and 1/2 the patients' . We'll do our part. Help us by doing yours. After all, it's your back.