Treat the cause, not the symptoms 

Managing Acute Low Back Pain 

Managing Acute Low Back Pain 

1. Don’t panic. 
Don’t forget that the severity of the pain is usually not an indication of how serious the problem is. Most patients in extremely acute pain have got simple muscle spasms which, although incredibly painful, usually resolve quickly. 
 
2. Use ice - NOT heat. 
The worst part of an acute condition is that inflammation makes the joint swell. Think of it like a sprained ankle and put ice or a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a thin tea-towel on the painful area. Apply for 10-20 minutes on the area, leave it off for 1 hour, and repeat.  
NB: Do not use if diabetic with neuropathy or have poor circulation. 
 
3. Stay mobile. 
If you are able to stand up and walk around, do so every 20-30 minutes and gently move around the room. 
 
4. Listen to your back – Pain is a warning sign. 
If what you are doing hurts – STOP. Don’t try to push through the pain. 
 
5. Rest as comfortably as you can 
Do whatever feels best and gets you rest. Most patients find comfort lying on their back with their knees bent with a rolled up duvet under your knees. 
6. Don’t lie flat on the floor. 
Unless it’s your most comfortable position. Lying with your legs straight on a very hard surface generally increases the load at the bottom of your back. 
 
7. Don’t take a hot bath. 
The heat will aggravate the inflammation and the position can cause a spasm. 
 
8. Be cautious with medication. 
Do take whatever you need to get relief (ask your medical doctor for advice/ prescription), but remember that tablets does not actually cure or heal your problem – they just mask the pain. Therefore you should still be very careful, even when you start to feel better. 
 
9. Accept help. 
From family and friends. Don’t be proud, you can always pay them back later! 
 
10. See your chiropractor. 
You will receive a thorough examination to diagnose the exact nature of the problem. We can then make sure it doesn’t progress or worsen, and get you back to normal activities as soon as possible. Early chiropractic care is suggested in The Royal College of GP’s guidelines for acute low back pain. 

Preventing Low Back Pain 

Preventing Low Back Pain 

1. Keep fit. 
Regular exercise helps maintain mobility and strength, but only if it’s done without pain! Walking, swimming, and cycling are all excellent exercises. 
 
2. Warm up. 
Whether you are doing sports, gardening, or DIY’ing, you need to warm your muscles first. A brisk walk and some gentle stretching first could prevent a painful muscle strain. 
3. Cool down. 
Stretching after physical activity is almost more important than warming up. Do it gently, without pain, and DON'T ‘bounce’ - just stretch and hold. 
 
4. Listen to your back. 
Pain is a warning sign. If what you are doing hurts – STOP. Don’t try to push through the pain. 
 
5. Rest on a firm, but supportive bed. 
It should be firm enough, so that it doesn’t sag in the middle, but it should still give enough to let your shoulders and hips sink in slightly. 
 
6. Don’t bend and twist. 
This is the most common cause of back injuries. Picking a briefcase/shopping bag out of the boot of the car is a classic example. 
7. Don’t sit for too long. 
Whether at work or in the car, prolonged sitting causes load on the discs and weakness of the muscles. Get up and move about every 20-30 minutes – even if it’s only for a minute. 
8. Be careful with medication. 
Long term anti-inflammatory drugs such as Nurofen/Brufen or Voltarol/Diclofenac can cause stomach problems such as ulcers. 
9. Never sleep on your stomach. 
It doesn’t do your back or indeed your neck any good at all! 
 
10. See your chiropractor. 
Whether it is “niggly” or disabling – we can usually give you marked relief and improved quality of life, as well as decreasing the likelihood of a recurrence. 
 
 

Common Patient Questions 

Common Patient Questions 

The disc is a soft pad that acts as a shock absorber. It has a fibrous outer ring which holds in a jelly-like material. A 'slipped disc' is a common way to refer to a wide variety of disc-related problems. However, a disc cannot slip, because of the way it attaches to the spinal bones above and below it. A disc can bulge, tear, thin, herniate, dry out, and/or collapse. It cannot slip. 
A pinched nerve is rare. It is more likely that an adjacent spinal bone irritates, stretches, rubs, or chafes a nerve.  
Chiropractic adjustments usually involve a quick thrust that helps add motion to spinal joints that aren't moving right. Adjustments can use the doctor's hands, an instrument, a special table, or the force of gravity. There are many ways to adjust the spine. 
YES! Studies have found that adjustments are remarkably safe. Chiropractic care enjoys an excellent track record with helping individuals avoid drugs and surgeries. A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care might be unsuitable. 
NO! Only the spinal or extremity joints that are restricted receive adjustments. This allows weakened muscles and ligaments to stabilize and heal. If nothing is restricted, an adjustment is unnecessary and will not be given. 
Highly unlikely. A chiropractic adjustment has the right amount of force, delivered to an exact spot, at a precise angle, at just the right time. The intent is to get a restricted spinal joint moving again. Years of training, practice, and experience make chiropractic adjustments specific and safe. 
Simply, it is gas being released from the joint(s). Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. It's much like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a suction cup. The technical term is cavitation. 
NO! Some people can make their joints "pop" or cavitate, but that's not an adjustment! Worse, damage can occur by mobilizing a joint over and over again to an area that is not restricted. This can lead to weakened muscles and ligaments, as well as bone degeneration. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even your chiropractic doctor must consult a colleague for an adjustment to benefit from chiropractic care. 
The number of adjustments varies with each patient and his/her individual goals. Many patients sense progress within a week or two of frequent visits. Visits become less often as your spine stabilizes. In chronic cases, complete healing can take months or even years. 
No. Chiropractic doctors don't dispense drugs. We rely on natural methods and can show you how to use non-drug options, such as ice, to control painful symptoms. When properly applied, ice can have an analgesic effect without the side effects of pain medications. 
No. Very unlikely. If the chiropractor needs to assess the skin of an area, she will simply work around the clothing or provide you with a gown. 
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