Back pain can be one of the most debilitating and common injuries suffered by Australian adults. In most cases, patients should be up and moving within a few days of an injury as bed rest can do more harm than good. Long-term treatment is needed for chronic back pain and severe back injuries and can seem never ending but there are many options to try and find the best combination for you.
Treating a Back Injury
Using ice packs can improve the comfort of a back injury particularly when there is swelling. After 48 hours, try swapping to heat packs and find what provides the greatest relief for the pain. Make sure your skin is protected by covering the hot or cold pack.
Regaining Strength & Conditioning
Start on a tailored, light exercise program to improve the strength and condition of your abdominal muscles. Stronger abdominal muscles can reduce the strain on the lower back for everyday living. An experienced physiologist managing your program will ensure prescribed exercises meet your skill and fitness level and that you perform the exercises correctly.
Clinical pilates is low impact and ideal for flexibility, muscle strength, balance and posture; all beneficial for improving chronic back pain. As well as improving core strength in the abdomen and lower back, pilates can improve gluteal muscle activation, correct postural imbalances and retrain the pelvic floor. Pilates programs can be prescribed based on your current level of fitness and the areas of your body that need attention. Pilates exercises can be completed with your personal physiologist then at home.
Muscle tightness is another cause of back pain. By reducing the tightness and improving flexibility throughout the body, the load on your back is reduced. Regular stretching and light exercises that increase muscle length are ideal for improving your body’s overall flexibility.
Hydrotherapy can help with muscle relaxation and reduce tension as the warm water and buoyancy takes the pressure off joints that land-based exercise can’t do. The pool is a good introduction to exercising after an injury when pain prohibits other forms of exercise.
Therapy & Relaxation
Due to its debilitating nature, people suffering from back pain are prone to depression and anxiety. When a person’s mental health is not the best, their level of pain can feel further exacerbated. It’s important to seek help if you are suffering from anxiety or depression. An experienced psychologist who regularly helps patients with pain-related depression can assist.
The perception of pain can also be reduced if your body is in a relaxed state. Patients often report they felt their back pain improve when they began doing activities like meditation, deep breathing, tai chi and yoga. When the body is less tense, injured muscles and nerves are in a more relaxed state.
If you are suffering back pain and need help with an exercise plan, relaxation or therapy, contact your qualified exercise physiologist at Momentum Health Services by calling 9200 2240.