Simple Solutions for when the Back ‘Goes Out’
Your day is off to a great start until you bend over to pick something up off the floor and just like that you have sharp back pain that makes everything from bending to breathing a difficult task.
Now what you think to yourself?
How will I get dressed, much less get to work?!
As you sit there in agony you begin to wonder “What could I have possibly done to cause this?” You can’t for the life of you think of anything.
THE REALITY – You did a lot of things to cause it. Only instead of a slip and fall or auto accident where you are injured in a flash, you just did got injured slowly day in and day. Factors that likely led you to this moment include stress, bad sleep postures, bad work postures, a misstep off a curb, old injuries that resulted in damaged spinal joints and a host of other factors that slowly got your spine out of alignment and led up to today.
While there are many factors to consider, in most cases the spinal bones finally shifted just far enough out of alignment to irritate the neighboring nerve and BAM!… Pain! This is called a Subluxation.
A friend tells you to use a heating pad. Don’t make that mistake. You are inflamed and ice is your friend. Reach for the ice pack instead. Using it 20 minutes per hour is a good rule of thumb.
You may also instinctively think you should lay on the bed or couch and try to relax the muscles. This may be a good call for a few minutes but if you stay there too long it will only make the muscle spasms worse which means you will tighten up even more. When you are laying down make sure the surface you are on is firm. Think floor or a firm mattress and when sitting make it one with rigid support such as a kitchen chair.
As mentioned, don’t stay static too long. Get up a move around a little. Move slightly side to side and forward and backward right up to – but not into – the pain.
Then get down on the floor and bend knees and rotate them gently side to side, or flatten your spine pushing it into the floor lightly. Keep the joints moving.
Once up for 15 minutes or so, opt for the ice pack again for 20 minutes and then get up and move around again. The more you lay around or keep the heat on it, the more it will tighten up.
Now get to your chiropractor as soon as you think you can lay on the table to get worked on. If it’s too sore then you might need to ride it out at home a day or two for some inflammation to go down. If it is going into the leg or so severe you get comfortable at all you need to just go on in to the chiropractor or even ER for an evaluation and possible pain meds.
Each case is different when a low back or other area of the spine ‘goes out.’ It is always better to play it safe than sorry. If you have sharp pain that is debilitating or has changes in bowel or bladder function associated with it, get to the emergency room. Otherwise following the protocol above should help until you can get a full diagnosis and care.
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