So last week we talked about why low back pain can happen around the holidays. We also talked about the reasons why lower back pain and sciatica does not get better after the holidays.
Here’s a quick recap on why back pain gets worse during this season, and why it doesn’t get better:
1. Cold weather.
The change in temperature can definitely have an effect on muscles and joints.
2. Less Activities.
For people that normally deal with back pain, they often find some routine that provides some relief (walking, stretching, some form of exercise). Unfortunately, this busy season can give people an excuse to stop doing some of these things that manage their pain. And when they stop doing them, their back pain gets worse!
3. New Activities.
During the holiday season, most people find themselves doing things their bodies are not used to doing. Things like driving around town, standing (think cooking or waiting in a line at the groceries), being in awkward positions (think sitting wrapping gifts) or even wearing different clothes (two words: high heels!). These new activities can put stress on the lower back that it’s not used to.
The effects of stress on the body is undeniable. In addition to the stress that this time of year brings people, poor sleep, bad food, lack of routine can contribute to people with already existing back pain to suffer even more.
A combination of these things can cause a person who already suffers from “on again, off again” low back pain to have an increase in the intensity, severity and frequency of their pain.
Moreover, what would normally bring them relief does not work!
Does this sound like you or someone you know?
If so, allow me to talk about what a lot of people do to get relief that may be the biggest mistake they can make.
Let me share the story of Laura, she is a 48 year old Chino native who we treated here at our clinic right after the holidays last year. She had suffered with low back pain intermittently for years and after the holidays she had one of the worst “flare-ups” of her back pain. Laura shared that she got to the point that she started taking medications and she simply stopped doing a lot of things! She found herself laying in bed (or her sofa) more hoping that the next time she gets up she won’t feel that crippling pain.
Does this story sound familiar to you?
Although Laura had all the right intentions, she did a few things that may have delayed her healing or made things worse. Taking medications can be an option when it comes to alleviating some pain due to severe inflammation. However, this often just “masks” the real source of the issue. The biggest mistake Laura made is laying down too much. Decreasing your activity to this extent will not only prolong your low back pain, it can actually make things worse.
When someone suffering from low back pain makes a drastic change in their activity, there is a negative “snowball” effect. With the end result making your back pain last longer and sometimes more severe.
We will get more into this “pain cycle” next time…
Back to Laura’s story. She eventually read an article we wrote last year. And after seeking help with us, we were able to identify the root cause of her issue and get her real long lasting relief. No medications, no gimmicks, no quick fix.
Now back to what was first mentioned in this article. The safest way to start to get relief is to simply abide by this rule:
If you are having back pain, continue to do all your normal activities as long as it does not cause pain.
This may sound obvious or overly simple. It is. But guess what? not all back pain sufferers do it. Which is why they continue to suffer.
You will be surprised with how many people who have back pain, either stop doing a lot of their normal activities for far too long, or (whether they realize it or not) start changing how they do things. Unfortunately, these changes can make things worse!
That’s it! Keep moving.
Now if you need to clarify this more, I’m more than happy to.
You might be thinking: “That’s not me”, “I tried that before and it doesn’t work…”
That’s OK and you are not alone. All that means is that you need to get a little more insight on what else is happening (or not happening) to help you get rid of your back pain and get you your life back.
Next time, we will get a little more in depth on why for many suffering from back pain they can get into what we call “The Pain Cycle”. And we can continue to talk about how to get out of this cycle.
Have questions for me? I’m happy to answer any questions about back pain by phone at (909) 907-0805 or by email at Carlo@empowerPTwellness.com
You can also TEXT me at (909) 907-0805
Until next time!