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Tips to help with back pain

Acute back pain can often begin to improve on its own within a few weeks but there are several things you can try to help reduce the pain and stop it becoming a chronic problem.

Whilst there is a place for rest (the current recommended period of rest is between 2 days – 2 weeks for acute lower back pain), one of the most helpful things you can do is to keep moving.  Movement helps loosen up the muscles and can ease back pain.  

Remember…. the body loves to move!

Obviously we aren’t suggesting that you should be aiming for your fastest ever 10km or taking up a new sport, but a gentle swim, some yoga or stretches specifically for back pain can really help.  One of the best exercises you can do is walking. 

Check your posture.

There may be simple things you can do to help alleviate pain.  This can include your posture when walking, for instance if you hunch over or slouch.  Sitting for extended periods can cause or aggravate back pain especially when using a chair or position that does not promote ergonomic posture.  This is a problem for many of us at the moment who are working from home in make-shift offices;  dining tables and chairs are not meant for sitting on for 8 hours a day staring at a laptop!

Check your workspace.

Ensure you have a suitable chair, your computer screen is at the correct height and invest in a pair of headphones to use for phone calls.  Holding your phone to your ear whilst you type can cause shoulder and neck issues.   A footrest also can make all the difference; there are numerous styles on the market which can be placed under your desk to promote ergonomic positioning and help ease back pain. 

Medication can help ease the pain. 

Anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen, can help.  You can buy these from your local pharmacy.  Speak to the pharmacist as they will be able to offer you advice if you aren’t sure about which to take, the correct dose or interactions with any other tablets you are taking.  It is always best to check and be on the safe side. 

If you find that over the counter products aren’t working then speak to your GP who may be able to prescribe other medications. 

See a professional. 

Consider booking an appointment with a chiropractor or a physiotherapist who can offer treatment and also give you advice on exercises to help strengthen and rehabilitate. Massage is also thought to help alleviate pain.  

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has also been found to help people manage chronic lower back pain. 

Experiencing pain over a long period can lead to changes in behaviour, anxiety and fear of doing things which may worsen or aggravate the pain and sometimes symptoms of depression, all of which can play a role in hindering progress and recovery.  CBT can help to you deal with chronic pain in a more positive manner.

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