Once the initial care at the office has started to properly treat your back pain, simultaneously, a complete home care plan has to be initiated to ensure that your pain will be resolved and that it does not return.
As is the golden rule at my office everything follows the 51:49 RULE. That is when it comes to taking care of yourself…the onus is always on you! Even though as doctors, we will give you 100% in facilitating your healing, that only equates to 49% of all of the work that has to be done. The remaining 51% is your responsibility and should be guided by a home care strategy.
Here are the basic components of the self care plan for treating your back pain:
- Eliminate the Inflammation: Most mechanical back pain is caused by inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae and from the soft tissues surrounding these joints. If the inflammation persists in these areas the pain and stiffness will also linger. This is a common cause for the chronic nature of spine pain. It is imperative to reduce and remove all of the inflammation to restore normal pain free function. Moist ice applied to the affected parts a minimum 2-3 times per day 10 minutes at a time will help reduce inflammation.
- Increase Your Flexibility: A proper active stretching program to reduce the tension of the muscles will reduce the pressure on the inflamed areas and speed recovery. A proper stretching program should be prescribed by your health care practitioner.
- Reduce Postural Strain: Daily postures such as excessive sitting/standing/sleeping or exertional activity that irritate the injured areas will lead to further pain and suffering. These positions/chairs/beds that cause increased strain on your spine need to be modified or eliminated.
- Motion is Lotion: In the past and unfortunately even now in some cases patients are told not to move and to rest during episodes of back pain. The correct advice is to rest from activities that cause increased pain but not sit or lie in bed all day. Doing nothing will make your problem worse and lead to longer and greater suffering. Introduce motion and keep as mobile as possible. Stretching gently and walking for short durations are another key in maintaining your mobility. Once again your health care provider will outline what is best for your case with regards to activity.
- Is It Your Feet: The arches of your feet act as shock absorbers for the rest of your body. If there is an issue with your arches of your feet or the mechanics of your feet while you are walking or standing, the effect will be felt in the rest of the joints of your body. Have your feet examined and the manner in which you walk assessed. It may be that appropriate footwear and custom made foot orthotics are needed to adequately support your body the correct your spinal pain.
- Nutrition: Ensuring that your body is well hydrated and not deficient in key vitamins and minerals has a direct impact on how tight your muscles are and how much inflammation you may have in your body. During times of physical stress and healing ensure that your fluid intake is adequate and that you are eating a balanced diet and supplementing with vitamins and minerals. For a guide as to how to best support your body with nutritional supplements, ask your health care provider.
- Your Psyche: It is a fact that you cannot separate your brain from the rest of your body. What you experience in the brain will directly manifest itself in your body. Mental/emotional stress that is not dealt with in a proper fashion will be a source of pain and discomfort in other areas of your body. Tight muscles in your back are one of the direct consequences of mental/emotional stress. Dealing with stressor issues is an important step in resolving other body dysfunction.
- Maintain, Maintain, Maintain: Maintaining your health is the only way to prevent back pain and other health issues from affecting your life. Maintain your treatment schedules prescribed by your Chiropractor. Maintain your flexibility by stretching daily. Maintain your mobility, strength and body weight by regularly exercising. Maintain a balanced diet. Maintain your mental health by removing stresses in your life. Maintain the great relationship you have with your body…after all the better you treat it, the better it will treat you.