Recently we’ve needed to become chameleons, trying to adapt to a new domestic lifestyle. Working, exercising, sleeping and even virtual socialising, now take place in the same spot – home. We believe the best way to stay grounded is to follow a routine, but no matter how physically and mentally strong you are, nothing stops you in your tracks quite the way sudden back pain can, especially during lockdown.
Chiropractors are the back specialists. If you think we simply crack your back and send you on your way, think again. Chiropractors perform spinal adjustment to correct any misalignment, relieving painful pressure on the nervous system. While this is at the heart of chiropractic care, our reach goes far beyond by also encouraging health and wellness between your adjustments.
This is how long-lasting pain relief works. It means considering health in a completely holistic way.
To start the healing process we need to first listen to our body and understand what type of pain we’re experiencing.
Ask yourself if this sudden pain is totally new and unchartered territory, or is it a more familiar feeling that could be recurring from a previous injury?
Back pain: Is it a twinge or an ache?
Sharp shooting pain could relate to the endless map of nerves entering and exiting your spine. These nerve pathways link your brain to just about every part of your body. If pressure develops along the way you will most likely feel pain. This might be due to an underlying condition, but incorrect lifting and false movements are common causes for this twinge in your back.
Dull or spasmodic pain is usually associated with muscular issues. This is more likely the result of sitting for a long time, poor posture, reduced activity and general muscle strain.
The pain plan
Hot & cold therapy
If you’re suddenly struck by sharp pain, the first thing to do is rest and ice. Use a cold compress or ice pack and don’t apply any heat to the affected area. This will help curb the swelling and reduce sensitivity to ease the pain.
If your pain is more the dull, throbbing type, then a combination of ice and heat therapy is ideal. We usually go from hot to cold as this helps loosen and soothe the affected muscles or underlying connective tissue. A hot water bottle or relaxing bath will do the trick!
Getting back to business
Initially it’s important to rest for the first couple of days. Get in tune with your body! This means recognising your limits by reducing painful movements. It’s about striking the right balance between keeping your body moving and your muscles active, all while staying in a pain-free zone. As and when you feel it, slowly return to your activities.
Aim for exercises that are kind to your spine and gently promote strength and mobility. Pilates, yoga and Tai Chi are great spine-lengthening and supporting options that also challenge your entire body holistically. We’ve shared a few helpful stretches to guide you here.
When we injure our body, it responds by releasing protective substances that trigger inflammation as part of the healing process, but with inflammation comes increased pain. There are many great supplement options to naturally relieve pain by reducing swelling. Our favourites include:
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric root that is well recognised for its powerful anti-inflamatory properties. Aim for ‘cell active’ supplements as our body can absorb these well.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids encourage healthy bones and contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. We use krill oil and omega 3 vegan options which both contain high levels of DHA and EPA – key Omega 3 fatty acids.
Other supplements offer muscle-spasm relief, which can be really effective for sore, tight or persistently contracted muscles.
Magnesium is involved in so many biochemical processes and plays several important roles in the health of your body and brain. It’s an effective muscle relaxant which counterbalances calcium, another essential mineral for muscle contraction. Magnesium also affects brain function and helps in overall relaxation. It improves our mood and even sleep quality!
Massage is such an effective piece of any pain management puzzle. If you’re suffering from the type of dull ache that stems from compromised muscles, then massage is definitely for you. You can try self-massaging, but if you’re housebound with a friend or loved-one, ask them for good back rub! Working through the knots will ease some of the tension.
If you’re only option is to self-massage, you could also use a tennis ball to help apply even pressure, check out this blog for an easy technique.
For added benefits, try anti-inflammatory or menthol containing creams.
It’s easy, when we’re suffering, to look for a quick fix, but we really can’t emphasise enough the importance of learning to listen to the body. This helps us understand how the injury happened in the first place and what we can do to prevent it from happening again.