What not to do with chronic back pain?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

When dealing with chronic back pain, there are certain things you should avoid in order to prevent worsening of your symptoms and promote healing. Here are six things you shouldn’t do when your back hurts:

1. Avoid bed rest: While it may be tempting to lie down and rest when your back hurts, prolonged bed rest can actually make your pain worse. It can lead to muscle stiffness, weakness, and even increased pressure on your spine. Instead, try to stay active and engage in gentle movements or exercises that are recommended by a healthcare professional.

2. Don’t sleep on your stomach: Sleeping on your stomach can strain your back and neck, leading to increased pain. It puts stress on the spine and can cause misalignment. Opt for sleeping on your side or back with a supportive pillow and mattress to help maintain proper spinal alignment during sleep.

3. Stop lifting heavy things or twisting your back: Lifting heavy objects or twisting your back can put excessive strain on the muscles, ligaments, and discs in your spine, exacerbating your pain. If you need to lift something, make sure to use proper lifting techniques, such as bending at the knees and keeping your back straight. If possible, ask for assistance or use tools to help with lifting.

4. Refrain from repetitive bending or stooping: Consistently bending forward or stooping for long periods of time can strain your back and worsen your pain. If your job or daily activities involve repetitive bending or stooping, take regular breaks to stretch and change positions. Use proper body mechanics to minimize strain on your back.

5. Avoid sitting for long periods of time: Sitting for extended periods can put pressure on the spinal discs and increase back pain. If you have a sedentary job, make sure to take frequent breaks to stand, stretch, or walk around. Consider using a chair with good lumbar support and maintaining proper posture while sitting.

6. Avoid certain exercises: While exercise is generally beneficial for back pain, there are certain exercises that can aggravate your symptoms. High-impact activities, such as running or jumping, can put excessive stress on your spine. Similarly, exercises that involve heavy lifting or twisting motions should be avoided. Instead, focus on low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or gentle stretching, which can help strengthen your back muscles without causing further pain.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with chronic back pain is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor, who can provide personalized advice and treatment options based on your specific condition.