You've Thrown Out Your Back... What Do You Do?
When someone hurts their back we often say they’ve “thrown their back out”. If you’ve ever thrown your back out you know just how miserable the experience can be. Most people are stuck on the floor or in bed with pain and muscle spasms for a few hours or even a few days before they can move enough to consider starting a treatment. This blog post will walk you through the steps of how to handle an acute back injury.
The first 24-48 hours after a back injury…
If you’re in a lot of pain, having muscle spams, or notice any swelling it’s best to go to your local urgent care center or ER for an evaluation. Chances are they’ll take x-rays to rule out any broken bones and then send you home with pain relievers and muscle relaxors with instructions to rest and take it easy for a few days. Follow their advice and take it easy for a few days as the medication can make you feel better then you really are and if you move around too much you might make the problem worse.
The worst of the pain is over and you can move around a little, now do this…
Once you feel well enough to move around a little and get in a car to drive to a doctor’s office it time to start your rehab process. Before you begin the rehab process its best to figure out what exactly you injuried in your back (muscles, ligaments, nerves, discs, bone, etc) so you know what kind of rehab to do. The kind of doctors with the most experience and knowledge when it comes to back injuries are chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, and neurosurgeons. If you have the time and resources it’s nice to get a second and even a third opinion from a few different types of doctors so you know your options.
Once you start doing your rehab…don’t stop!
The only thing worse than throwing your back out is doing it again! When it comes to rehabbing from a back injury the process can take a while. And when the rehab therapy is over the self care at home should continue. Most back injuries aren’t from lifting things that are too heavy, but from lack of flexibility, balance, and coordination. Keeping your body fit enough to avoid back injuries doesn’t require going to the gym everyday, but it does require some of your attention every day. To work on your flexibility you should take time to stretch during your breaks at work and in the evening when you get home. Sitting is one of the worst things for your back, so if you have to sit at work or drive a lot then you need to take time to stretch and NOT SIT on the couch at home. Working on your balance and coordination are things you can do at home too. Usually the doctor you work with will give you at home exercises for your rehab. To prevent future back injuries you can keep doing those exercises even when the pain goes away.
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