Managing (a recurrence of) back pain

Despite doing all of the right things back pain may reoccur. About half of those who have a back pain will have another episode within a year. If this happens to you dont be disheartened, this is perfectly normalAlthough it can be very painful back pain is rarely due to a serious cause and many flare ups settle within two weeks.

It is a good idea to have a plan in place if back pain does reoccur. There are several things you can do to help settle it quickly. Discuss this with your clinician at Back2Health during one of your treatment sessions. Here are some suggestions – 

Learn from your experience. Things that helped you last time are likely to be those that will work in future.

1.    Pain killers: Some people worry that by taking painkillers they will not feel the pain and may damage themselves further. Research has shown that this is not so and pain relief allows normal relaxed movements that help healing. You may wish to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist about increasing your medication. This can be planned in advance.

Painkillers need to be taken regularly during the flare-up to be effective. 

2.    Hot water bottles or ice wrapped in something dry like a tea towel and applied to the painful area for 10 minutes may helps reduce discomfort. 

3.    Try to stay at work as many studies show that this speeds recovery.

4.    Do remain active and gently exercise. If painful try breaking up your activities such as walking or household chores with regular short rests. Prolonged bed rest (more than 24 hours) has been found through research, to lead to a slower recovery, and increases the time to return to your normal activities. 

5.    Spend some time doing relaxation. Some slow breathing exercises can help relax your back muscles as well as your mind. 

6.    Try to remain positive, do not feel guilty or blame yourself. Unhelpful thoughts such as this will never get betterI can’t copeIt is unsafe for me to do things can make the pain seem worse and cause muscles to tighten. 

If symptoms are not setting or you are not returning to normal activity after a week you should make an appointment to discuss your problem and see if you would benefit from some care to help you get going.

If your symptoms include numbness about your bottom or genitals, or a change in control over your bowl or bladder (having accidents) you should seek urgent medical advice.