Here at the ISIS Chiropractic Centres, we find that most people who hurt their backs stop being active, which is fine for a short while, but you do not want to stay inactive for too long.
Research show that if you stay in bed for more than 3 days you are less likely to recover as well, or as quickly, compared to if you stay active.
It is interesting that the advice on avoiding bed rest has only become part of medical guidelines in the last few years.
The traditional medical approach for back pain has always been rest and pain-killers (and research show that many medical doctors still give that advice).
The traditional chiropractic approach has always been to stay active and to mobilise the area to help you get active.
That is one of the big advantages of our treatment. Chiropractors probably will get you active and get you back to work quicker than any other treatment.
Another interesting fact is that research shows that if you have acute back pain you should not exercise. ‘So what shall I do?’, I hear you say.
Common sense goes a long way. You do not want to do anything that is too physical to start with – but you do need to get out of bed!
That is all very well, but what can you do if you just can’t get out of bed?
We always advise you to start to do isometric exercises for the back, buttocks and leg muscles.
If you still can’t walk, try to crawl on all fours. This might seem extreme but it works very well.
However, there are times when we do advise rest. That is active rest – rest more than usual and avoid doing things that aggravate the injury.
It is always safe to do isometric exercise, but exercises that involve extremes of movement are not good to do at any time, even when you are not in pain. See "How the spine works."
The next step would be to start to walk – not too far, just within your tolerances. The best place to start is in your home or your garden just in case you get too sore.
Once the injury starts to heal we introduce safe, core stability exercises followed by more targeted dynamic exercises that simulate your work environment, your hobbies and improves your cardiovascular fitness.
First, we teach you how to use the core muscles better. That in it self has a significant effect.
The next step is to improve the endurance and speed of contraction of the core muscles.
This is followed by balance exercises to improve the proprioception (improve the function of the nerve endings that send signals to the muscles to tense up).
This chiropractic approach has been proven to work very well for both acute and chronic problems.