When you let people know you have back pain, you often get personal advice about how to make you feel better. While these people may be trying to help, their advice might not be as correct or up-to-date as they would lead you to believe. When you are in pain, the most sound advice comes from a medical doctor in that specific area. The following are three myths that we would like to share with you:
You Need Plenty of Rest
The "S" shape of your spine was designed to support your torso vertically. The muscles that keep your vertebrae in place and the discs that cushion the joints give your back the flexibility and strength it needs for you to sit, walk and play. When you injure your back, the muscles tighten around the injury. Lying down makes those muscles tighten even more. The vertebrae are most likely out of alignment and the tight muscles are preventing the vertebrae from returning to their proper position. Your chiropractor can move everything back into place and give you the right advice as to how you can recover faster and prevent future injuries.
Lift with Your Knees
When you tell people you are moving, inevitably the sage advice, "lift with your knees," comes out of someone's mouth. When you pick up a heavy object and use your knees to lift, you may be saving your back, but are doing so at the expense of your knees. It is better to spread the strain of the load across your entire body. An even smarter way to lift is to use levers, moving dollies, or furniture sliders. Let these devices take the burden off of the move. If you absolutely have to use your body to lift, use a proper lifting form: Plant your feet shoulder width or more apart. (The weight of your body plus the heavy item will run through your feet to the ground, so make sure this foundation is a stable one.) Roll your shoulders back so you have a strong arch to your back, much like the curved support cables of a suspension bridge. Bend the knees slightly, flex your abdominal muscles, and lift with your hips. Then go see your friendly neighborhood chiropractor to make sure you did it properly!
Turn Around, Let Me Crack It for You
Nothing compounds back pain more than Do-It-Yourself or friend adjustments. DIY adjustments of twisting the back can over-flex the vertebrae that are in alignment, while your spine holds fast to the locked vertebrae. The "reverse Heimlich maneuver" can put more vertebrae out of alignment while risking the joints of the person who is trying to help you. Lying on the floor (or worse a bed) and having someone walk on your back can lead to severe nerve damage, cracked ribs and herniated discs. While offering to "fix" you is commendable, there is no way for an untrained person to know where to adjust you correctly, nor the proper amount of pressure to apply to your back. Your chiropractor has been trained to realign your body in the safest way possible.
There is a lot of advice tossed around on the Internet and regurgitated by family and friends. The best way to find out the real facts on back pain is by asking a professional chiropractor.