A Day With Acute Back Pain
October 14, 2013
We’ve all been there: you’re getting ready in the morning, about to have a grand and productive day, and then a slip in the shower tweaks something in your back and you’re suddenly unable to move. Or, the night before, tidying up after a long day of physical activity, perhaps lifting something a little too heavy and knew that you’d be paying for it for the next little while. Or maybe you’ve just been spending too much time hunched over your computer, your back arched in that familiar hunch. Your body has had enough. Welcome to a day with back pain.
While this generally means laying very still on a flat surface with a heat pack and some Ibuprofen, thinking up new combinations of curses for your aching muscles, there are some things that you can do during a day with acute back pain that will not only make the time pass more quickly but might just help you heal more speedily as well.
Distract Yourself from the Pain
Not only will keeping your brain busy take the mind off your discomfort, but distracting yourself may actually reduce the amount of pain you experience. Researchers from the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf discovered that the brain actually perceives less pain, and the spine sends fewer pain signals, the harder the brain is working. Read an engrossing book or lose yourself in a movie marathon—anything that keeps your mind active and off that annoying twinge of pain that your experiencing.
Move As Much As You Can
Don’t push yourself too hard, but whatever normal movement you are capable of will help stretch your muscles and keep them limber, and will ultimately help you recover more quickly. Doing a few light stretches, as much as you can tolerate, will also help.
While lying around not doing very much might sound relaxing enough, actively and consciously making an effort to relax can help lessen spasms and relieve pain. Deep breathing exercises and relaxation tapes are a great way to start, as is meditation and other guided visualization exercises.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Pain is an entirely subjective experience. No one feels pain exactly the same way and therefore everyone reacts to pain differently. If the pain you are experiencing is intense or very distressing, don’t feel that you need to push yourself through it or that you should be tougher. Listen to your body and give yourself the time and space to heal. And of course, if you are ever worried about the type or intensity of pain you are experiencing, be sure to see a doctor.
While a day with back pain is hardly a pleasant experience, there are definitely a few things that you can do to shorten your recovery time and keep your mind busy while you get better.
And once you’re back on your feet (literally!), you may want to consider doing a set of stretches for your back or neck on a regular basis. Stretching and strengthening the muscles in this area will benefit not just your back but your overall posture and range of motion.
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