ReFINEd Winter 2020

Page 27

WITH Laura Lundquist, PT Zoomers Physiotherapy & Health Solutions

Experiencing Back Pain? 4 golden rules to follow


ower back pain affects approximately 80 per cent of us at least once in our lifetime. At Zoomers, we spend a lot of time teaching clients self-management techniques to reduce symptoms and maximize recovery. There are a few golden rules that I find helpful for almost all of my clients. Here are four of my favourites: 1. Keep moving Historically, rest was prescribed for lower back pain. However, research shows that staying as active as possible is helpful for recovery; bedrest increases pain and recovery time. Walking strengthens the muscles that support your spine and is integral to recovery. Of course, the severity of your symptoms will guide how much activity is possible; meeting with a physiotherapist can also help you decipher how much (and which) activity is appropriate for you. 2. Apply ice (or heat!) I am a big fan of applying an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes at a time in the first two to three days after an injury or symptoms start. It typically provides pain relief and reduces muscle spasm; a common complaint among my clients with lower back pain. In more chronic situations, some clients prefer to use a heating pad for 10 to 20 minutes. Whether you

choose ice or heat, you should have at least temporary symptom improvement after its application. 3. Avoid sitting on soft surfaces It is tempting to sit on the couch and “take it easy” when your lower back is sore. However, sitting on a soft surface puts a lot of stress on the joints of the spine. It can be comfortable while sitting but then feel very uncomfortable as you try to get up and move around. Unfortunately, sometimes this gets misinterpreted as “sitting feels good and moving feels bad” and you might be tempted to sit more and move less. Instead, it is best to try to change position regularly (every 20 to 30 minutes). When sitting, it is best to choose a firm chair (such as a kitchen chair) with a small cushion behind your back for support.

If you are one of the many people who experiences lower back pain but have not received professional advice about management and prevention, book with one of our physiotherapists for a full review. We can teach you good ergonomics for home and work. We can also teach you how to maintain and increase your core strength and flexibility to maximize your recovery and minimize your risk of re-injury.

4. Don’t panic! Lower back pain hurts. Many of us know someone who has had serious complications with a lower back injury and it can be easy to feel unsure about the likelihood of your recovery. Rest assured, 80 to 90 per cent of people with an episode of lower back pain are better in 12 weeks or less. Get (and heed!) professional advice, keep moving and trust that your body is resilient and will recover.


Laura Lundquist, PT

Zoomers Physiotherapy & Health Solutions Zoomers Physiotherapy & Health Solutions 291 Horseshoe Lake Drive, Unit C Bayers Lake, Halifax 902.453.1525



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