We’ve all had it. We wake up one morning or we do something we have done at least 100 times and then all of a sudden you feel it. That sharp twinge. It almost seems to fade at first but 20 seconds later it grabs you and takes you to your knees for a couple minutes. What then goes through your head are things like, “Is this the one that never goes away?” or “Am I going to be able to do anything normal for the next 2 weeks?” No matter the questions you ask yourself at that point it’s scary and frustrating all at the same time.
Many times, when these incidents happen you don’t have the immediate access to your chiropractor, a prescription or any other doctor related remedies. You’re on your own. So, then what? Well, since we’ve all been there, here is our top 5 list. Use them. They work.
Get on the floor – You need movement quickly. Work on knee flops side to side. Next do individual knee pulls on each side. Lastly work on some single-leg, leg-lifts. Do 10-20 of each to each side. You can do this 5+ times a day. The movement helps loosen the muscles and flush the inflammation.
Ice – It’s not fun but it works well when done quickly. Get the area really cold (without giving yourself frostbite!) soon after the incident happens and the inflammation hasn’t fully set in. Start with about 10min of icing every hour for the first 4 hours then go every couple hours for 15-20min for the next 24 hours.
Walk – Walking is the most natural remedy for low back pain, even if it’s become acute. If you can only go to the end of the block and back that’s fine. Work up from there. When walking try and take long strides to help move your pelvis and lower back more. Walking 4-5x/day for the first 2-3 days is a great way to calm things down. If walking just won’t work, a stationary bike can offer similar help with this situation.
Decompress it – Take 2 pillows off your bed or couch and stack them on the floor and lay your pelvis over the top of them face down and let your body relax. This is a great passive way to stretch that specific area. You can do this 2-3x/day for 5 minutes over the first 2-3 days for some relief.
Distract it – Doing things like trigger point work with a lacrosse ball or someone’s fingers or elbow causes the pain fibers to change their firing patterns and creates relief. The same is true with percussive therapy from items like a Theragun. The vibration confuses the receptors and reduces the pain. Another form of this is electric distraction from a TENS unit or similar.
Having a bad episode of low back pain on a weekend or vacation is not the end of the world. Use these tricks to decrease the spasms, inflammation and the resulting pain. Be consistent with them and trust in them. They will work.
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