Listen to your body
Pain is not normal. It is your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong. If you experience pain whilst performing a certain movement or activity then stop immediately. Don’t ignore it or be tempted to carry on and work through the pain. This can lead to more damage and a longer recovery time.
Take regular breaks
Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time. When seated get up regularly so as to avoid stiffening up. Ideally every twenty minutes, and walk round your desk or sofa. If your injury is acute it may need a short period of bed rest but you should discuss this with your chiropractor before taking to your bed.
Use ice vs. heat
When acute injury occurs ice is much more beneficial than heat. Use a flexible ice pack or bag of frozen peas, wrap in a tea towel and place over the affected area for 10 minutes every hour. This can be repeated as you feel necessary. Ice decreases inflammation, swelling and therefore pain levels. It is much more effective at pain relief than any anti-inflammatory medication as it is applied directly. It is advisable to avoid any pain killing tablets as they only mask the pain and can allow you to do more damage without realising it.
Utilise good lifting techniques
Always bend your knees and keep your back straight when bending to the floor even if it is only to pick up piece of paper. It’s not what you do but how you do it that causes the damage. If the object is heavy, hold it close to your body and use your legs to straighten up. Move your feet and don’t twist from the waist. Twisting at the waist causes immense torsion in your back and can easily damage the joints and ligaments.
When driving try to keep the seat as upright as possible. Alter the lumbar support so that your lower back feels well supported. You should be close enough that you can comfortably reach both the pedals and the steering wheel without stretching. Also make sure you take regular breaks. Remember you are sitting so try to stop every 20 minutes or so and walk around the car.
Your mattress should be firm, not too hard or too soft. When you lay on your back you should need to use some pressure to slide your hand into the small of your back. If there is no resistance the bed is too hard, if difficult then it could be too soft. Always sleep on your back or side, never on your front. Pillows should support both your head and neck. One or two pillows is a frequently asked question. Pillows ideally want to keep the head and neck in as neutral a position as possible so one pillow if you sleep on your back and two if on your side.
Taking regular exercise is good for body and soul. Always stretch before and after exercising. It is important when starting any exercise program, especially after injury, to start slowly and gently increase the intensity and duration. If you are in any doubt consult your chiropractor who will offer help and advise.