First Aid for Back Pain!!

Lets talk first aid. I have recently had lots of patients who all have been doing one thing in common. They have either neck pain or low back  pain... but the common factor is how long they have had it. Most of these patients have had this pain for more than 3-4 weeks and in most cases a few months.And they all commonly do the same thing for "first aid".... all these patients were using some form of heat to alleviate there pain. Either using a hot water bottle or a heat pad or a cream/preparation that made the area warm up ... like deep heat/ of ralgex or tiger balm for example. And wonder why they are NOT getting better ... and maybe worse!!

Sadly this is the main causative factor to maintaining the pain and actually keep it there for a longer period of time. It could have got better quicker.

HEAT  is not something I recommend my patients. Heat helps to release muscles , so they relax and temporarily ease the pain , so you think you feel better for a short time. But then the pain returns after a few hours... often with a vengeance !! You feel very stiff and achey in the mornings.

So what do I suggest?? For me after 30 + years in practice and seeing that it does work 99.9% of the time ... I always suggest ice packs and keeping the area cool.

Most of these pains are a result of  an iniflammatory reaction as a result of some injury. The inflammation causes muscles to tense and become tight and hence cause pain. This may even result is radiating pain , such as sciatica or a brachial neuritis.This the first reaction the body has and triggers the painful bout of neck or back pain. ( or any other joint for that matter)

So my suggestion to all my patients who present with this kind of pain is to use ice packs and NOT heat. Heat aggravates and cold relieves ...... contrary to popular belief !! When using a frozen ice pack / the gel ones are the best as they are slim and malleable. Always wrap the ice pack in a teatowel or perhaps a hand towel ( esp if you are susceptible to cold) and place it on the area the pain starts from and leave it there for 20-30 minutes. Do that every 4-5 hourly for the first 2-3 days and then maybe twice a day for 3-4 days, just before bed is a must!! Doing this will alleviate the pain quicker and allow the area of pain to heal and relieve.

I always have 4-5 ice packs permanently in the freezer !! 

This is a bit of my first aid advice for any pain either in the neck / low back or any other joint. Try it and see if it gives you relief. In the meantime book in with your osteopath as they will to get you back and moving on your feet again.  Give us a call and lets have a chat !!

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