Does your back pain cause other body parts to scream? Have you ever experienced pain that travels from your back into your thighs and knees? Or, is it common for your back pain to travel north, leaving you with an aching neck and pounding headache?
When back pain strikes, our bodies can experience numbing pain in numerous locations. Still, there seems to be only one remedy that we can think of to put our bodies at ease: Rest.
Unfortunately, rest (no matter how fulfilling it may seem) is not the best medicine for back pain. In fact, studies show that too much rest could be a bad thing for an aching back.
It is hard to imagine being active when in pain, but physiotherapists are showing back pain sufferers how to keep moving despite their discomfort. Understand why physiotherapy may be the best thing for back pain and realize how much bed rest is too much. Also, learn a passive technique you can use to build a strong back once again.
When Back Pain Strikes, How Much Bed Rest is Too Much?
Before we set out to understand how movement can decrease discomfort in our backs, let’s debunk the age old myth that says rest is the best medicine for pain.
Harvard Health Publications goes as far as saying, “Bed rest… has a limited role in healing sore backs.” While a little bed rest won’t hurt you, too much can exacerbate pain. If you must use bed rest as part of your healing process, the Ivy League medical school promotes resting a few hours at a time for a couple days.
In the moment, it may feel good to lie down, but this might only be a temporary sensation. Avoiding activity can cause muscles to weaken and digestive problems to occur. It can also increase the risk of blood clots and may lead to depression. Therefore, too much rest has the potential to cause more problems than it solves.
Overcoming Back Pain with Deliberate Activity
Remaining active despite back pain may result in shorter recovery times. However, activity that assists healing may be different than the activities you normally pursue.
Orthopaedic surgeon Mike Flippin, MD, encourages his patients, “…to get moving as quickly as possible.” But he also warns them to “Stay away from strenuous activities like gardening and avoid whatever motion caused the pain in the first place.”
Physiotherapists have been known to bridge the divide by helping people embrace active lifestyle that do not stress their backs. In fact, physiotherapists are able to equip you with customized exercise programmes that enable you to regain mobility without straining sensitive areas. Ultimately, carefully planned light exercises can keep your back upright and strong, increasing the likeliness of a quick recovery.
Passive Ways to Conquer Back Pain
When it comes to back pain, rest alone cannot bring about long-term healing. Deliberately incorporating activity into your days, with the help of a certified physiotherapist may accelerate your journey towards full health. However, one of the simplest things you can do to advance this goal is to carry yourself with good posture.
Sitting erect and standing tall are passive ways you can conquer back pain. Consequently, poor back posture puts additional, unnecessary stress on your back. A spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Associations, Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, says, “Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”
There is no doubt about it: hurting backs are major pains. But if your back pain causes your body to hurt all over, think twice before lying down. What might feel good for a moment can actually exacerbate the pain you feel. Instead, when back pain strikes, stand tall, remain active and call a physiotherapist.