Emergency Advice - Back Pain
I've just ricked my back, what should I do?
Think carefully how it happened.
The commonest way to strain your back involves a combination of bending and twisting. Because of the shape of the bones in the lower back the spinal joints are easily jammed if you bend forward or backwards, twist or side bend, then try to straighten up without first reversing the twist or sidebend. You feel a stab of pain that might take your breath away and then as you cautiously straighten and rub your back, it eases off. You decide that it is probably OK and continue your activity or else you decide you have done enough and go for a rest. An hour or so later, or maybe even the following morning you are in agony.
If this describes what happened to you, you have probably sprained your back. Some fibres of a ligament around one or more spinal joints are torn, there will be some bleeding followed by swelling and pain. Probably the muscles in the area will tighten and spasm as your body tries to protect you by preventing further damaging movement.
The biggest mistake you can make now is to apply heat!
The most important thing now is damage limitation, you want to minimise the bleeding and you want to minimise the inflammation and subsequent swelling. The best way to do this is with a cold pack. You can buy gel packs that you keep in your freezer or if you don't have a gel pack, frozen peas or ice cubes in a bag make a good alternative. Apply cold for 5-10 minutes every hour or two and in between you should rest. Forget the old fashioned advice about sleeping on a hard floor. If you lie on your bed with a pillow between your knees you should be able to find a position that is reasonably comfortable. Your body needs time to heal and you can speed up the healing by minimising inflammation with rest and cold packs.
When you feel up to it call your osteopath and arrange a visit for assessment and treatment. Once the initial injury has healed enough to be strong it is important that it does not scar and contract excessively. With the right treatment and advice your back will make a full recovery.
Osteopathic Clinic in Tenterden