Dodds - Unlock Back Pain

Managing Back Pain

Along with rest, you can trust DODDS to help ease the pain. But remember, no medicine can take the place of treatment, or combination of treatments, that your doctor recommends for your injury. As soon as you're on your feet, seek professional help on managing your back on a daily basis.

  • Regular exercise can help prevent pain. Stretching exercises adjust the mechanics of the back, while strong arms, legs and abdominal muscles guard against muscle strain. Spend 15 minutes a day stretching and strengthening your back and supporting muscles. A physiotherapist can help you put together a safe exercise regime.
  • Prevent sprains and pulls before they occur. Always warm up cold muscles with gentle exercise before stretching, exercising or doing yard work or shovelling snow. (If you're already experiencing some minor muscle pain, take a hot shower instead.) Cool down afterwards to return the body gradually to its normal resting state.
  • Avoid bending or twisting suddenly. This stresses back muscles and can damage spinal structures. When lifting heavy objects, keep the object as close to the body as possible. Bend your knees and use the thigh muscles to bear as much of the weight as possible. Lean forward slightly for balance. When shovelling snow, let your legs do the work. Keep your back straight and use your legs to bend and lift instead of your arms. This lets your stronger leg muscles take some of the strain off your back and arms. Also, avoid twisting from the waist when lifting. Instead, turn the entire body.
  • Sitting for long periods at your desk is just as hard on your back as standing or lifting, so take time to stretch! Stand up, then slowly bend down to touch your toes. Hang forward, letting gravity assist, while you count 15 seconds. Next, bend sideways from the waist to each side, again to a count of 15. Finally, bend your knees and shift from side to side to stretch the groin muscles.
  • Nonsterroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) help reduce pain. However, pain relievers tend to mask your body's natural safeguards, helping you stay active when you should be taking it easy. There's some evidence NSAIDS can slow healing by suppressing the body's prostaglandins, compounds that help it heal naturally. Check with your doctor or other health professional. Remember that muscle soreness is for your own protection. Your body uses pain and stiffness to restrict movement of the spine or joints and prevent further injury. It's your body's "red flag" to you.
  • Take a warm bath or Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes. It's a way to stimulate blood circulation in the body and break up the pooling of fluids that lead to swelling and pain.

An ongoing concern

If you're predisposed to back pain, you have probably learned that it's not only the sudden, jerking movements and extra stress on muscles that throw your back out. Even simple everyday movements can put your back in a bad position.

Pay special attention whenever you are:
  • Lifting a child out of a car seat.
  • Stooping to pick up dropped keys or bar of soap.
  • Kneeling for a long time when gardening.
  • Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods without moving.
  • Sprawling on a soft sofa to watch TV.
  • Carrying a heavy bag of groceries in one hand.
Don't overlook the value of a proper diet, to complement your exercise program. Eat a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet so that your muscles have plenty of fuel. If you are building a strength and endurance program, keep your intensity or duration increases to 10% or less each week.