We’ve all seen the scenes on TV shows when the old dad reaches or lifts an object and, to our amusement, throws their back out. As funny as it might be to see, for those that have actually injured their back in this way, it’s no laughing matter!
A pulled back can potentially leave you sprawled out on the floor, not able to move.
The first step is to attempt to stand up without engaging the injured muscles and seek immediate chiropractic care.
Without chiropractic care, you could be in pain for weeks, as opposed to only days.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN’T GET UP?
Hopefully, if you’re in this situation, a friend or loved one is there to help you up. Have them support your back and keep it as straight as possible as they are pulling you up.
If not, you can attempt to slowly make your way to your feet or a chair by judging which muscles are injured. Support your weight by pulling yourself up using a table or chair, whatever is at hand.
One of the best things to do is to attempt to stand while lifting your hands above your head. This causes your glutes to be engaged as opposed to your back muscles.
I’M ON MY FEET, NOW WHAT?
Since you are now on your feet and out of harms way, make your way to the chiropractor. If they cannot see you in the next day or so, we have provided 4 things you can do to alleviate some pain, while decreasing the mobility in your back.
Many people use their lower back way more than they should. The lower back is designed to stay stable, and not move while standing, lifting, etc. The following tips will help you maintain stability in your low back, while increasing mobility in other areas, such as your hips.
1) HOW TO SLEEP
When someone is sleeping on their back, their back is normally curved and engaged. This can cause more injury to a back sprain or pull, so the first thing to do while sleeping is to get the spine in a flat, neutral position.
The goal here is to have your hips and knees both at a 90 degree angle while lying down on your back. What this does is allow your spine to flatten out to the bed and relax.
This might seem like an uncomfortable position to sleep in, but it will do wonders for the injury’s healing. We suggest using a storage bin covered with a pillow for the support.
2) ICE AND HEAT THERAPY
Ice can provide a therapeutic benefit to these types of injuries by calming the tissues in the area, and relieve the pain that comes along with the injury. Ice should typically be used for the first 72 hours after the injury. If you find that ice continues to give significant benefit after 72 hours, you may continue, but conservatively.
It’s not beneficial to use ice alone. Ice is a “deflamer,” which means it reduces swelling and inflammation. However, since your muscles need inflammation to heal, ice will limit the healing that your muscle needs.
To combat this, alternate using an ice pack and a heating pad for 20 minutes each. The heating pad will promote blood flow and inflammation and continue the healing process, all while helping alleviate the pain!
3) DEEP ABDOMINAL BREATHING
To strengthen your lower back, one of the exercises we prescribe is the blood pressure cuff exercise.
In this exercise:
- Lie down completely on your back with a blood pressure cuff tucked underneath the curve in your lower back.
- Pump up the cuff to around 30.
- Taking a deep breath in, imagine you are filling a balloon with your breath.
- The needle will move up.
- The goal here is to move the needle up to 40 every time you take a breath.
This exercise not only strengthens your back, but activates your core muscles to provide stability in your low back.
4) PARTNER MOBILITY EXERCISE
Like we stated earlier, one of the main reasons why back injuries occur is that lower backs are meant to be stable, but are rarely treated as so. To combat this, we at Relief Plus teach our patients the importance of hip mobility.
To do this exercise, lie down on a bed or the ground and have a partner lift your legs while the knees are bent and move the legs gently back and forth and then in a circular motion.
MAKE SURE YOU GET CHIROPRACTIC CARE!
Dr. Shawn Johnston has found that the use of dry needling, soft tissue massage, and the chiropractic adjustment are the most effective conservative treatments. Rajah Fielder, FNP-C recommends trigger point injections, and muscle relaxers, if determined medically necessary.
Simply going to a chiropractor can reduce the healing process from weeks or months to only days!