First thing is first – Don’t Panic! Most back pain is ‘simple’… even if it is bloody painful!
1. Manage the pain
This could be using over the counter painkillers. Speak to your pharmacist about any drug interaction if you are already taking regular medications. It could also be applying some gentle heat – a hot water bottle or wheat bag can feel soothing and this will calm the nervous system down and help you to feel more in control. It will also help you to achieve the next step…
2. Keep moving!
Gentle movement helps not only with the local healing processes, but also helps to reassure your nervous system that all is well. There are no hard and fast rules about what movement is best – just do the movement that feels most comfortable to begin with. Find a balance between rest and movement that feels best for you. Gradually you can do more and reintroduce your usual activities.
3. Be patient.
Most simple back pain can be attributed to soft tissue injury and just like an ankle sprain will take a bit of time and support to heal and recover. Your amazing body is already doing the healing work at a cellular level from the moment of injury and this process from initial inflammatory response to tissue remodelling can take several months – the pain has usually subsided much earlier than this though! However, do expect some ups and downs over the initial days and weeks as you gradually return to your normal activities.
4. Have the right mindset.
Having a positive outlook about your ability to recover is not to be underestimated. If you are finding this part difficult, then do seek support early on – physiotherapists are great at explaining what’s happening and answering your questions and allaying your fears.
There are a very small number of people who need urgent attention or monitoring.
Seek urgent medical attention if any of the following apply:
- Your pain is a result of a trauma
- You have loss of bowel control
- You are unable to pass urine
- You have numbness or tingling in your gential area
- You have shooting pains down both legs
- Your walking pattern is odd and you don’t feel in control of your legs.
Seek advice from a GP or Physiotherapist if the following apply:
- Your pain is getting worse, not better.
- You develop pain, pins and needles or numbness in your feet or legs
- You are feeling highly anxious about the pain and it is stopping you from functioning normally.