Chronic pain is often defined as consistent pain that is not resolved within 3 months or more. It can be a tremendously difficult, psychologically-draining state and when chronic pain is in the neck or back, it can be particularly challenging as it affects nearly all body movement.
Dealing with chronic back or spinal pain is not simple but there are a few tips that can help vastly improve your quality of life. The following is a list of common recovery methods and strategies for individuals who opt against invasive back surgery. This list is only intended to inform and it is of critical importance that an injured individual speak with their primary physician or physical therapist in order to decide on a treatment plan that is right for you.
Take Time to Recover
With many back injuries, including bulging disks, taking time off will allow the swelling to subside and permit the spine and surrounding tissue to heal. Swelling after all can be the primary source of pain. Incorporating hot and cold therapy into bed rest can also be highly beneficial. Many individuals report a single week of bed rest can restore the back to its healthy state and relieve chronic pain. Immediately after bed rest, many individuals use a supportive back brace, such as a lumbar support brace or sacroiliac brace, in order to offload weight from the affected area during the initial stages of rehabilitation.
Our bodies are designed to move, so after your recovery period, be sure to incorporate reasonable physical activity back into your daily regimen. The best activities are ones you will actually do on a near daily basis, so find something you enjoy and make it part of a routine. Before deciding on a new physical activity, discuss your options with your physician or physical therapist to ensure the activity will not place undue strain on your injury. Activities like swimming, elliptical machines, and walking are great low impact options for individuals with back injuries. You do not want to pursue a “muscle building” regimen at this time, which requires that muscles be stressed to the point of “breaking down” and “rebuilding”. This may further damage the already injured area. Rather, you want an activity that maintains muscle and prevents atrophy. Rehabilitation can seem slow at times, but it really is necessary for healing the injured areas.
Don’t Ignore Persistent Pain
Many folks – in their eagerness to exercise effectively and thus recover – ignore signs of pain when being active. Don’t. This is a critical time in recovery, and you do not want to push yourself to the point of further injury. Again, it is important to stress that your physical activity is about comfortable movement and muscle maintenance – not muscle building. With time you will be able to build muscle, but recovery is certainly not the optimal time to do so.
About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of orthopedic braces and supports. From top quality post-operative back braces to a wide selection of hinged, unloader and arthritis knee braces, MMAR Medical has bracing and support solutions for everyone.