Back pain is such a common experience that it is estimated up to 80% of adults will have at least one severe episode of lower back pain in their lifetime.
For many people, the pain quickly resolves and things go back to normal. However the first time this happens to you it can be scary, particularly as severe pain can occur suddenly and without warning.
Statistics however are on your side. Most of the time, acute low back pain resolves without consequence and doesn’t recur. If you happen to be in the middle of an episode though, here are a few tips to help you get through.
While this may seem obvious, there are a few people who will always try to push through the pain. The expression "no pain, no gain" is in many cases outdated and if your work requires heavy lifting, it is more than reasonable to take a few days off.
2. Avoid too much rest.
On the other hand, lying in bed all day is bad for you as well. If you have severe back pain, gentle movement under the advice of a physiotherapist is much better for you than complete rest.
3. Avoid long car or plane trips
If possible, now is the time to avoid long distance travel. If you absolutely must travel, speak to your physiotherapist about how to manage your pain during the trip.
4. Avoid listening to horror stories
There are always stories about pain that never went away, requiring surgery, which only made it worse. While worst case scenarios can happen, they are rare, and being fearful can negatively impact your recovery. That terrible story is probably not going to happen to you and hearing these stories is only going to worry you and make you feel worse!
5. Avoid delaying treatment
While your pain may go away on its own, it is important to have a professional assess your condition to screen for any serious injuries and advise you on how to best manage your pain while you are getting better. They can also help you recover as quickly as possible, as well as give you advice on how to avoid future episodes.
6. Don’t expect a miracle cure
Back pain is complicated and a single treatment that works for everyone simply does not exist. It is important to follow the directions of your therapist and work with them to set reasonable and realistic goals for your recovery.
None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.