Don’t Make These Mistakes When Getting Rid of Back Pain!

I get a lot of questions about what to do about back pain. But I’ve always ended up talking a lot more about the things that you should NOT do when you have back pain. Here are  a few tips for you!

Using a Back Brace

Back braces are easily available in your neighbourhood pharmacy, and maybe even in your grocery store. It seems like an easy fix to pain right?

Wrong: The purpose of back braces are to support your spine when there is a concern with instability. It is meant for temporary purposes  – as you strengthen your natural back brace – your abdominal, spinal and core muscles. So, when you use back braces for an extended period of time, your spinal muscles start getting weak, making you dependent on the brace for support. So instead of making the situation  better, it causes more pain when you remove it because it has weakened your natural stabilizers. Muscles atrophy – or waste away – pretty quickly when not used.

Also remember – pain causes weaker muscular activity and recruitment. So chances are if you have weak muscles, it is caused by pain. So eliminating the pain will allow you to strengthen those muscles better. Wearing a back brace for support everyday won’t.

So when you have back pain – don’t reach for the brace right away. It can be helpful for short periods to get you over the hump, but if you find yourself wearing it for more than ~3 weeks you’re doing more harm in the long run than good.

Waiting Too Long to Get Help

We love to try to wait things out. After all , sometimes it is just a tweak and it goes away. And besides, you have too many things going on, right?

Pain is the body’s signal that there is an injury .Pain can be a sharp pain, dull achy pain, or a tingling/numbing sensation, and can be interpreted differently by different people. Pain can go from acute pain in a recent injury, to chronic pain, where the body’s interpretation of stimulation can become altered to  produce a more painful stimuli. Chronic pain is always more difficult to treat. For  this reason, when you notice consistent pain symptoms, you should take care of it right away.

Well, how long is too long? Usually if it is a tweak, depending on your activity level and the severity of your pain, chances are it will go away. But if you’ve been in pain for more than 2 weeks consistently, chances are you need some help.

As for having a busy schedule – we all do! Life comes at us at full force with no breaks. Buuuuuut….if you don’t take the time to address your pain, there is a very good chance that the pain will build, and at some point it will force you to slow down. Or worse yet, STOP MOVING! And if you can’t move, you can’t work, play your favorite sport or take care of your loved ones.

So taking the time to get rid of the pain allows you deal with this on your terms, on your time. Not when it rudely interrupts your life – usually at a time when you can’t afford to slow down.

So choose your terms and when you want to deal with it. The sooner the better!

Using Back Cushions for Lumbar Support

Contrary to popular belief, lumbar support is NOT the most important factor in healthy sitting. A lot of people readily reach for this quick fix when they have back pain with sitting. Not always the best thing.

Most people  reach for the incorrect types of back supports when sitting – these cushions can frequently change the correct spinal curves and create more pain. Proper placement and size to fit you is important to get the best fit that will help your spine and condition.

When you have large cushions placed in the wrong place, they re-align your spine in positions that is painful to maintain. Also it can create hinges and/or fulcrums in areas that should not have it, again creating pain.A good rule of thumb – if your spinal support changes your natural spinal curves by more that 20 degrees, chances are it is hurting your more than helping you.

Also look at adjusting your setup more to support your spine when you are sitting – drastically changing your sitting alignment with a pillow usually does more harm than good.

Continuing to Lift Heavy Weights

When you are in pain, your muscles go through a process called muscle inhibition. Inhibition can be caused by several things -pain is one of them. When we use the word inhibition, it does not mean that the muscle is not working or that it is shut down, but rather its ability to receive and send neural information to the nervous system is decreased. The muscle ‘s ability to contract on demand therefore is diminished. This means that your strength and endurance is decreased,  and your ability to tolerate demanding situations decreases.

When you have back pain, the same thing occurs. Muscles don’t respond in time, nor do they contract with the same force as before. This means lifting heavy loads as you did before your injury, can actually make you worse.

You can avoid this by using good lifting techniques to avoid strain on  the back. Bending with your knees, and lifting with your legs instead of your back muscles is a big one. But if you are having pain that has lasted for more than a month, chances are there is more things going on and lifting heavy items will make things worse.

Want more tips on how to avoid and prevent back pain?

Sign up below for our FREE Report  5 Tips to End Back Pain Today! where you can get some more tips on how to get rid of your back pain

Click Here For Your FREE Back Pain Report »
Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS

Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS

Physical Therapist at Performance Plus Physical Therapy
Danelle Dickson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Morgan State University in 2003, then her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware in 2007. After graduating, she earned her  Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certification in 2012. She is continually increasing her knowledge base with post graduate continuing education from manual based courses such as Institute of Physical Arts and St. Augustine courses. Additionally, she has also presented research at local (APTA) and international (IADMS) conferences on dancers, and has published her research with Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.

Danelle combines her 10+ year of clinical, research, and administrative experience  to produce a well rounded, patient driven experience at Performance Plus Physical Therapy. She currently works with patients with orthopedic, sports and Performing arts conditions, along with taking care of the local dance population, and mentoring local physical therapy students as a clinical instructor.
Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS

Latest posts by Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS (see all)

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field