What to do about everyday activities causing pain?

Recently I had a patient ask me why his low back bothered him after using a push mower to mow the lawn. Not even 24 hours later, I had been raking leaves and lifting the barrel of sticks and leaves to dump in the corner of the yard and the following day my back was in pain. It made me really realize the simple things we do each and every day that may cause us to hurt or feel pain — because they shouldn’t be that way.

Back pain is a response to an injury, and when your back hurts from doing things like mowing, or raking, or golfing, gardening, or even walking after work, your body is telling you that something is not quite right. Naturally, it is at this point that I should say chiropractic can help with these issues, and we are here for you to help take care of your aches and pains from any type of problem you are having. But what can you do in the meantime to relieve some of this discomfort from everyday activities?

We’ll start with the most simple step: hydrate. Drink plenty of water, all day long. Water has a multitude of positive benefits for you and one such benefit is the more well hydrated you are, the better your circulation is. The better your circulation is, the easier it is for your body to transport blood to areas that may have an injury (even if it’s a small injury, new blood to the area helps the healing process). If you are dehydrated, your blood becomes very viscous and thick (think of how maple syrup flows) which is not ideal for healing body tissue. So next time you’re active, remember to grab some water to keep things flowing!

The next step: stretch. I have two cats, whom I love dearly. When I watch them wake up from a nap, the first thing they always do is stretch their back, arms and legs. It seems to be some innate knowledge for cats to stretch before attempting to move too much, and we humans tend to forego the stretching aspect of life because we are in such a rush all the time. Next time you plan some grand activities, whatever they are, do some light stretching before and after to loosen up and keep limber while moving. If you are unsure about which stretches to do, try the basic ones: fronts of the thighs (quads), backs of the thighs (hamstrings), cat/cow stretches, and knees to your chest. These are all google-able and if there are any questions or concerns about any of them, do not hesitate to ask.

Finally, if you still experience pain: ice. Few people like ice packs. Fewer people like being cold. This is understandable, but I will say as I write this, I have an ice pack on my lower back and it is helping. Ice and cold therapy help reduce inflammation in the body. If you have pain somewhere, you most likely have inflammation as well. Ice packs or even a frozen bag of peas, when applied to an area of pain and injury for 10-15 minutes, can significantly help reduce the residual pain from whatever the activity was that caused the issue. A nice perk is you can apply the ice to a low back while performing the knee to chest stretches. Keep in mind that with regard to ice and cold therapy, not everyone can handle the harshness of freezing temperatures. There are also certain conditions that make it difficult to detect exactly what cold sensation you are experiencing. If you believe you have one of these conditions or feel cold therapy may not be right for you, please forego this step.

Please Note: These suggestions do not mean you should ignore any pain you experience from activity or movement. Pain is not a regular aspect of life, rather it is a straightforward way for your body to let you know something is wrong and needs to be addressed. If you experience pain and it lasts more than a day or two or progressively worsens, you should seek medical help. Naturally, we at Warwick Family Chiropractic are always here to help if you need it, so please call to let us help you get pain free and well adjusted today.

Erik Krebs