Simple Rest and Activity Modifications
Rest is perhaps the simplest form of treatment for pain, but it can often be overlooked.
If the core problem is a soft tissue injury, avoiding strenuous activity can provide an opportunity for those tissues to fully repair themselves without their work continually being undone.
However, trying to remain completely inactive or resting for too long of a period of time can actually be detrimental to overall recovery. There can also be certain activities that would be considered “resting” that may nevertheless still cause strain on the back, such as sitting for a prolonged period of time.
We can discuss with you ways to modify your activities to still keep you moving while reducing or eliminating sources of strain on the back. This may include:
- Modifying or temporarily eliminating activities that strain the back in specific ways.
- Being mindful of activities that may make pain worse, such as standing or sitting for extended periods of time.
- Defining a period of time to follow protocols of rest and modifications before pursuing additional forms of treatment, if necessary.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide an environment that is as favorable to recovery as possible.
Heat and/or Cold Therapy
Although they may seem like opposites, both heat and cold can have beneficial effects on treating back pain, depending on the condition at hand and the needs of each patient.
Heat can help relax tight muscles and increase blood flow to areas of injury. With more blood comes more of the oxygen, growth factors, and other elements cells need to conduct repairs more efficiently.
Cold, on the other hand, is effective at reducing inflammation. It can be especially effective within the 48 hours following an injury, or after any sort of activity that may leave a site aggravated or swollen.
Depending on the condition that must be addressed, we may recommend a regimen of heat and/or cold therapy. Whichever method is being used, it is always important to protect the skin by wrapping the source of heat or cold you are using and limiting how long and how often you use it.
We have discussed limiting and modifying movement, but we may also recommend moving in ways that can benefit your condition.
We may discuss simple physical therapy plans to:
- Improve flexibility
- Increase range of motion
- Strengthen your core
- Improve poor posture (which may be placing excess stress on your back)
- Reduce pain
Any sort of conditioning or exercise plan for back pain should always be discussed and planned with a medical professional first.