Suffering from a bad back?
If so, what’s your initial response? Rest or keep moving?
Many people automatically opt for bed rest. However, research shows that bed rest for longer than a couple of days, can prolong the pain.
If the pain is exceptionally bad then, indeed, you may need to rest for a day or two. However, the best advice is to get moving around as soon as possible. This is because:
- It gets your back moving again by stretching tight muscles and joints
- Your bones and muscles get stronger
- You don’t get as stiff, as the exercise stops you seizing up
- Your fitness is maintained, as it gets your heart and lungs working
- You feel less depressed, as exercise generates endorphins
- It isn’t as much of a challenge to get going again
- It speeds up healing because it helps to pump out waste products from the body
- It helps to prevent a recurrence of the injury, as you build the strength in your muscles
We are by no means suggesting that you sign up for a marathon. Do whatever works for you. Start moving and gradually increase your activity every day. It is also important that you continue to work and carry out your normal day to day activities.
There are many exercises that you can include to keep yourself active and ease your pain. Such as:
- Using an exercise bike
However, please be aware that getting your muscles and joints working again can be painful. Don’t let this put you off. If your muscles hurt to begin with it does not mean that the exercise is causing you damage. It’s normally a good sign that you are making progress. If you continue to exercise, the pain should gradually ease off until you reach the point that you can’t feel it any more. Pain killers can help you if you need something to help take the edge off initially.
Don’t let this original discomfort put you off. The longer you delay exercise, the longer you will have back pain and the harder it will be to get back to full strength.
So, will you rest or stay active? Hopefully you will ignore the “bed rest” advice of the last century and choose to keep moving.
If you are suffering from back pain, please make an appointment to come and see us so we can work with you to relieve your symptoms and advise you further on exercise that you can do at home.
*Everyone responds differently. Therefore, we suggest you seek individual advice from your osteopath or GP about what approach would be best for you.