October is National Chiropractic Health Month, so we are celebrating by providing our "Top Spinal Health Tips"!
Once, is for back pain. Approximately 80% of adults will have low back pain at some point in their lives. On every patient’s first appointment, we perform a health history and thorough examination to determine the cause of your back pain and make specific treatment recommendations at that time. The best treatment options for you will depend on the cause of your symptoms, so always seek professional evaluation first. These are some of the most common questions that we get about back pain relief.
What the best thing to do first if I’ve acutely injured my back from a sprain/strain injury?
Typically rest and ice are the best treatment options for the first 24-72 hours after an acute injury. Use ice 15-20 minutes on the injured region, then take it off for the remainder of the hour and repeat as necessary. Ice will help to reduce pain and inflammation.
When can I start exercising after a back injury?
This is one of the most common concerns our patients have, and will depend on many factors including: the cause and mechanism of injury and how active you were prior to injury. For most non-complicated acute back injuries, patients can resume non-strenuous activities such as walking within 72 hours. For more intense physical activities and training, always consult your doctor about your return plan and restrictions. Generally, long term bed rest is no longer an appropriate recommendation as it can often make recovery slower.
How do I know if I need x-rays or other special studies to evaluate my back pain?
Most cases of acute and uncomplicated back pain episodes will resolve within 1 month and don’t require any additional testing. However sometimes we do need to make a referral. X- rays or referral to a specialist can be indicated in the following instances: pain has persisted more than 4-6 weeks, severe traumatic injury such as a fall, fever or recent bacterial infection, severe or progressive neurologic complaints, bowel or bladder dysfunction, unexplained weight loss, or prior history of cancer. These are “red flags” and should be immediately reported to your doctor
What are the best things I can do at home to prevent another episode of back pain?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is your best defense! Keeping your body at a healthy weight helps prevent additional strain on the back. Regular exercise, including core work, will help to keep your back strong. Patient often ask us, what’s the best type of exercise? Our answer, whatever you like to do! If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be consistent, and consistency is the key in any exercise program. Walking and hiking are great options, but you should incorporate a strength component as well 2-3 times a week. Finally, practicing good posture and workplace ergonomics are important. Many companies offer their employees ergonomic evaluations of their workstations, so be sure to take advantage of this. We highly recommend utilizing a standing desk if you can. Otherwise, using a lumbar support in your chair and taking frequent breaks can be helpful. The seated position puts the most pressure on your discs so should be limited.
What are the proper lifting techniques?
Proper lifting is essential to avoid injury or re-injury. Maintain a slight lordosis (or curve) in your lower back. Bend knees first and lift with the legs. Keep the load as close to your body as possible. Avoid twisting while lifting. The spine is most vulnerable to injury after a holding a prolonged flexed position or prolonged period of laying down (ie. first thing in the morning)
What back pain relief treatments do you offer in your office?
At Grayhawk Family Chiropractic, we are unique in being able to offer our patients numerous therapies to help manage back pain. We offer spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapies such as Graston, acupuncture, massage therapy and pain-relieving physical medicine modalities (similar to TENS). These conservative treatments are effective in treating different types of back pain and your doctor will suggest the appropriate combination of treatments for your specific condition on your first visit.
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