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First Aid

Acute Back Pain First Aid!

As a successful chiropractor I want to help you make correct decisions when choosing treatment for back pain. There are several mistakes people make when they have back pain and the main mistakes are – using heat on their backs and exercising in pain. Current research and a our experience in back and neck pain management and treatment shows that both these mistakes are very common and very wrong.

First of all – DO NOT APPLY HEAT to your spine. Your back is inflamed and applying the heat will increase inflammation and pain. If you apply ice to your back, you reduce inflammation and pain. Make sure to wrap it in thin cloth, otherwise you may ice-burn your skin. It will only feel cold for about 2-5 minutes, then the pain will start to numb away. You can do it every 2 hours for 10-20 minutes.

When using ice, get a gel ice-pack. It is soft when frozen, has a good surface area and it doesn’t run down your trousers when it melts. You can pick one up at almost any chemist or buy online.

Icing your back feels very cold of course, but in 2-3 minutes you stop feeling cold, because your nerves become insensitive to it. We recommend to ice over your spine and it is safe to do every 2 hours for 10-20 minutes. Although heat may be sometimes beneficial with chronic non-acute pain, we rarely recommend it because of the high risk of pain getting worse.

We are so surprised at the clinic that some people still apply heat to their backs – it sometimes provides short term relief, and causes long term damage. Please – do not take hot baths, when your back is not at its best – a prolonged awkward position and heat can trigger inflammation and pain. Bed rest is also not recommended. Try to stay as active as possible, of course without causing more pain.

Please do not wear support belts for days, because they weaken your back and make things worse in the long run. They are made to support your back after severe trauma and for heavy-lifting only. The same advice is valid for neck pain too. Only wear a collar if you have had neck trauma and use ice on the back of your neck.

Please do not exercise when in pain! Some people exercise and even run through pain, thinking it will “go away”. Pain will only subside, as the body heals, so let it heal. Exercise is a strain to the body and adds to the damage. However exercise is extremely beneficial when taken at the correct phase of care. But NOT when you are in pain.

If the pain is really bad, your doctor will give you anti-inflammatory tablets. Some patients are not aware that taking “one or two” tablets, almost never works. Read the instructions and remember, that to get to inflamed joints this substance has to accumulate in the body over a few days and it has to be taken in sufficient amount to work. Like with everything else – you need a COURSE OF TREATMENT.


Source by Vasily Maslukovs

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