I’m chiropractor at Lushington chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne. In this blog I will share with you my favourite tips on what you can do to try help yourself when you are suffering with back pain.
James’s Top Tips for a Painful Back
First of all, remember to use an ice pack. If you are in a lot of pain and suffering with a flare up of back pain, ice can really help with pain relief. Often when things have flared up there will be inflammation. Ice helps calm inflammation down. Get an ice pack, cover it in a tea towel, and place it on the painful area for 10 minutes. Never use the ice pack straight on the skin as this can cause damage to the skin. Sit and relax for 10 minutes while icing the area. This is not always people’s first go to for pain as heat seems a lot more comforting. However, if there is inflammation, heat could aggravate things. If you don’t have a good ice pack, frozen peas always work a charm. Just don’t eat the peas afterwards but just keep using them as an ice pack. We also sell some good ice packs at our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne so don’t forget to ask about that.
The other thing to remember is to keep moving. Going for a walk can be helpful. If your pain is really bad, then just try and walk around your house. Walk while swinging your arms naturally as this movement is good at keeping the back moving.
It is also worth trying self-massage using a tennis ball. It works great on the glutes. You lie on you back with knees bent, then lean to one side and place the tennis ball under your glutes. Then try to roll back onto the tennis ball and relax into it. It can be painful so just do what you can.
My Top Tips on what Exercises to do
Cat Camel Stretch
When you wake up in the morning, before getting up, roll over in bed and do this stretch. You go onto all fours on your bed. Your shoulders should be directly above your wrists and your hips should be directly above your hips. Then you arch your back up, whilst tucking your pelvis under and dropping your head down with your chin towards your chest. It is aptly named the cat stretch as you will I am sure you will have seen a cat stretch this way with their tails tucked under their bodies.
You then move in the opposite direction and drop your belly to the floor, whilst sticking out your buttocks and lifting your head and looking up to the ceiling. This is the cow part of the stretch (not exactly sure why it is thus named).
Do this stretch gently in time with your breathe. Breathe in when doing the cow part of the stretch and out when doing the cat part. Move gently from one position to the other. You don’t need to push the stretch, just go with what you can do. You do not need to hold the stretch but move gently in time with your breathe from one position to the other.
People who have done yoga or Pilates will most likely be familiar with this stretch already.
Top Exercises for Back rehabilitation
The following exercises are those recommended by Dr. Stuart McGill. Dr. Stuart McGill is a spine biomechanics professor and author of many books, including Low Back Disorders and Back Mechanic. He recommends 3 exercises which help with back rehabilitation.
The Curl Up
Be advised, this is not a sit up or a crunch.
First lay on your back on the floor and bend one leg. Hands are placed under the lumbar spine. Do not try to flatten out the lumbar spine. The main focus is to rotate the mid back, not the neck. The head and neck should remain as a rigid block. If this is difficult, attempt the exercise with your tongue pushed firmly against the roof of your mouth (this helps stabilise neck muscles). Try to lift the head and shoulders off the floor towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds, then release down. Try and get to hold this position for up to 10 seconds. Do 4 repetitions, half with your left leg bent and the other half with your right leg bent. If this exercise hurts your neck, stop doing it and ask for some advice on neck isometric strengthening exercises.
The Side Bridge
Lie on your side with your feet back so that your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Your forearm should be on the floor with your elbow underneath your shoulder. Lift your hips off the floor whilst maintaining a straight line from your head to your knees. It is easier to imagine pushing your pelvis forward which naturally lifts it. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Roll over on the other side and repeat. Try 4 repetitions. The time you hold the position can increase as you get stronger. Once strength has been established in this position, try this exercise with the legs straight.
The Bird Dog Exercise (Superman exercise)
Start on all fours. The back should be in a neutral position, do not let it sag down towards the floor.
Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back until they are both parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat on other side. IT is important to toe able to hold this position without wobbling about. If you cannot do this, try do it for a shorter time to start with. If this is still too difficult, try just holding the arm forward on its own. Then do the leg.
Hopefully these exercises can you help you to get back to normal after suffering with back ache. If you would like to be assessed by a chiropractor, please get in touch with us at our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne. Click here for details.
Want to find out more about low back pain?
We have a huge variety of blogs on low back pain. If you’ve found this blog helpful and would like to find out more, then please check out one of our other blogs on low back pain below.
General advice and self-help advice
Stretching and exercises
Posture and Low Back Pain
Sleeping and Low Back Pain
Gardening and Low Back Pain
Back pain in the elderly
By James Revell
Call now 01323 722499