At some level, low back pain (LBP) will most likely hit all of us, at least that’s what the statistics say. How we respond to it can be vital to its advancement or cessation. Here are some “highlights” of what to do if this happens to you.
STOP: The most important thing you can do is stop what you are doing — that is, if you’re lucky enough to get pre-warned before the LBP strikes crisis point. This move can be crucial, since it may be too late to reverse the cycle quickly once it hurts too much.
The “trigger” of LBP is often cumulative, meaning it happens gradually over time, usually through repetitive motion overloading the area. As previously stated, if you are lucky enough, you’ll be warned that before LBP becomes an occurrence that disables / prevents. Normally, the nerve endings in the damaged tissue activate muscle guarding as a protective mechanism when the tissues in the low back are over-stressed and initially wounded. This “muscle spasm” reflex limits the flow of blood leading to more pain producing a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped!
REACT: This is the “hard part” because it needs you to actually do something, but once you prove to yourself that this strategy really works, you will not hesitate. You will need to determine your preference for “direction,” or the position that reduces LBP. Once you’ve developed yourself, you can do exercises to help relieve back pain. To do this job, you need to be able to do these exercises in public without attracting too much attention, so that you can feel comfortable doing them anywhere at any time.
EXERCISE A: When bending forward feels relaxed, the alternative exercise is to sit down and (a) cross one leg over the other, (b) lift the knee to the opposite shoulder, and (c) push the knee in different positions to adjust the “pull” area. Stretch out each tight area by applying an arch to the lower back, move the trunk to the side of the flexed knee (sit tall and twist — if it doesn’t hurt) and switch between those positions (10-15 seconds at a time) until the stretched area feels “loosened up.” A second exercise is to sit and rotate the trunk until you feel a stretch. Again, during the twists alternate between different degrees of low back arching, feeling for different stretch areas until it feels looser, usually 5-15 seconds per side. A third exercise, as if to tie a shoe, is to sit and lean forward and hold that position until the tightness fades away.
EXERCISE B: When bending backwards feels better, exercise choices include putting your hands in the small of your back and leaning back over your fists, or bending backwards and keeping the position for as long as you need to feel relief (usually 5-15 seconds). Try to place a rolled-up towel from a sitting position (make one with a towel wrapped tightly like a sleeping bag held with rubber bands) in the small of the back to increase the curve. Lying with the roll on your back and a cushion under your lower back will feel great too!
Part 2 to follow!
Adapted article, credit: https://drthomasogiblog.com/1032/low-back-pain–what-to-do-immediately–part-1-/