Managing Low Back Pain during Covid-19
During the Covid-19 lockdown, it may be necessary to self-manage some injuries at home. Here are some top tips for managing recent-onset low back pain.
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Sometimes injuries will require some medication to get you up and running again, anti-inflammatories can be purchased at pharmacies and will aim to reduce the pain and inflammation in an area.
2. Ice and Heat
Ice is beneficial for inflamed areas – this should be applied to the area for 15-20 minutes and can be reapplied frequently during the day but leave at least 2 hours between applications. Sometimes back pain will be due to a muscle going into spasm and muscles tend to respond better to heat. Similarly, heat can be applied frequently throughout the day. If you have tried one with no effect, try the other. Alternatively, you may get some relief from trying both.
Movement is so important for us and it is very seldom that total bed rest will ever solve any back pain. Bed rest can be used if the pain is severe and all movement is difficult however most people will respond to gentle movement. Keep the movement pain-free as much as possible and aim to keep it short. Try 10 minute walks on the flat and if that feels ok try to increase the time in 5-minute intervals. Alternatively, if you find you are worse after walking, cut down the time to what you can manage more comfortably. Knee rolls side to side and knee hugs are nice gentle stretches that can be done throughout the day.
If your couch is quite soft and low, chances are it will add to your pain. You may feel that the longer you sit the worse you feel or that when you go to stand your back is quite sore. Lying on the floor or couch is a good alternative, or get a kitchen chair for yourself to keep you in a more controlled position. Again, frequent breaks are important here.
5. Correct Footwear
If you are at home a lot more, chances are you might be wearing slippers around the house for long periods. These often have very little support and can add to low back pain. Aim to wear supportive footwear around the house or when out walking.
6. Hoovering and Mopping
Hoovering and mopping are notoriously tough on the back, especially if you’re back is a little more sensitive than normal. Delegate these two tasks if possible, or worse case change from hoovering to sweeping.
– Deborah O’Mahony, Physio