There is nothing worse than not knowing how to treat your back pain when you are struck with acute back pain.
Acute back pain is the sudden onset of immobilising back pain. In most cases there has been back ache previously, but the most ‘normal’ movements can trigger debilitating pain e.g. bending to tie a shoe lace, brushing your teeth or making the bed.
What Causes The Pain?
The acute onset of pain is the response to a ‘normal’ movement which (on this occasion) the body sees as a threat. What happens is that the ‘movement’ causes one of vertebrae slightly shearing across another. The nerves in the area send a panic response to the brain, which in turn sends chaotic messages from the muscles in that specific area to either rotate, flex, extend, side-bend and spasm. It is total chaos and excruciatingly painful.
What Do I Do When It First Happens?
How bad the pain will be depends on the amount of muscles in spasm. If all you can do is lie there, try to get onto all fours. Next try to stand. I remember crawling to a corner and using the wall to stand up against, the presence of the other corner wall gave me the confidence to ‘let go’ of one wall with a hand and transfer it to another. I believe that confidence brings relaxation which in turn will help lessen the muscle spasm and help with pain reduction.
Sometimes I found it easier to push myself up into a standing position by pushing down onto my thighs. Once you are upright try to walk a little, as it becomes easier extend the amount to time walking. The action of walking normalises the response from the brain to the muscles and it time it will settle.
Believe me; I’ve experienced the most horrific back pain so I really know how back pain makes you feel and the fear of it re-occurring….
Initially, if the pain is very bad lie down. Bed rest is fine providing your bed is firm and supportive. The floor is good, however, many people experience the scenario of ‘once you’re down there you can’t get up’
- Taking an anti-inflammatory medication (tablets or gel) may help by reducing inflammation and pain-control to allow further mobilisation and stretching.
- Ice the area
- If it really bad and you are unable to move bed rest for 1 or 2 days may help, but remember if you do not work the muscles they will loose tone- even after 48hours.
Often you get re-occurrence of acute episodes and in time you can end up with a serious and debilitating back issue with other complications. Prevention (as always) is better than cure.
I find myself dealing with chronic and acute back on a very regular basis. Initial deep tissue work and minor adjustments will bring about an instant response of releasing tension, couple that with the knowledge of how to strengthen and protect your back you could have even greater confidence and knowledge to minimise the severity and frequency of acute back pain.