Your day is off to a great start until you bend over to tie your shoes or pick up your kid’s toy off the floor and BOOM!… You’re stuck!!
Now you’re wondering what to do? How do I get to work? Get the kids to school?
You’re next thought is, “I didn’t do anything to cause this?”
Reality Check: You likely did plenty that led you to this point. Between stress, poor sleep and work postures, old injuries and new ‘minor’ injuries you have done plenty. In most cases it’s simply caught up to you resulting in spinal bones that have lost their proper motion and alignment leading to nerve irritation.
You’re immediate reaction is to get the heating pad, which will make it worse, don’t make that mistake. Disregard what the ER doctor has said in the past, or what you’re co-workers said to do, ICE IS GOOD!!
The next thing you need to start doing is moving around. Your instinct is to lay on the couch or bed and try and relax. This will only make the muscle spasms worse which means you will tighten up even more.
We typically tell patients that present to our chiropractic office with a hot lower back to get up and move around for about 10-15 minutes several times a day then ice when they get done. This may seem like it will make things worse, but it will actually help you feel better. The more you lay around and keep the heat on it, the more it will tighten up.
When you do lie down, make sure it is on a surface that gives you support. Your favorite easy chair or position on the couch is often what led to this problem in the first place. Avoid them if you can. The floor, a firm mattress and a straight back chair are better options.
Now you need to find a chiropractor for that quick crack to get you back on track. You find the first chiropractor that is on your insurance plan or that can get you in today! If you have been to a chiropractor before then you know the power one adjustment can have and get duped into thinking, or at least hoping, that you will be able to get a quick adjustment and be on your way. Don’t fall into this trap.
Unless you had a specific injury, chances are you have had your condition for a while and whatever seemingly minor movement you made when it started to hurt was just the final straw for your spine alignment. Your free pass on not maintaining your spine alignment has just been revoked.
If you have never been to a chiropractor before then understand that it is normal to have some discomfort with your first few adjustments as your body is still trying to calm down from the spasms and inflammation.
Remember that while you came to the office in acute pain caused by just bending over, the source of the problem has likely been brewing for quite some time. As we talk to our patients on that initial visit we often discover they have had off and on back pain for months or years, but it only lasted a couple of days and went away. Those little symptoms were warning signs of things to come and here we sit in my office talking about those little warning signs while you are barely able to sit still.
If it is determined you are suffering with what are called ‘subluxations’ (a condition where spina bones lose proper joint function) and that you are a good candidate for care, you local chiropractor will adjust your spine. The adjustment will help to restore the proper joint function and reduce the nerve pressure that is causing the pain and spasms.
Your number of visits will likely be aggressive in the beginning, with frequency reducing as the subluxations (misaligned spinal bones) improve.
Don’t rush the process. It took time to get your spine in the shape it’s in now, it’s going to take time to get it back to how it was before these little warning signs first emerged.
The seemingly innocent pain signals from your body are the early stages of something bigger to come. Our suggestion is don’t wait for “The Big One” before getting your spine looked at by your local chiropractor.
Start getting your spine aligned now and avoid the pain, off work time, difficulty walking and host of other normal daily functions that are lost when the warning signals are ignored.