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Last week we discussed some pain relief strategies you can employ for short term relief from lower back pain. Listed below are 3 more self-treatment methods to aid your recovery.
For patients with pain from the SI (sacroiliac) joints, SIJ belts can help to compress and support the sacroiliac joints, reducing pain. They are particularly useful in the early stages of injury before strengthening exercises can be initiated. They are also generally effective in pregnancy-related pelvic pain. We recommend the SIJ belt from Serola.
Contrast therapy involves applying alternating hot and cold to the injured tissue. It is a simple, safe and cheap method of aiding recovery and reducing pain. Heating and cooling helps to stimulate blood circulation and has a positive effect on inflammation. Cooling also has an analgesic effect and therefore contrast therapy can be a useful aid to reduce pain prior to performing mobilisation exercises.
Hot and cold can be applied in a variety of ways. With lower back pain it is usually easiest to perform in the shower or using hot / cold packs. If using hot / cold packs make sure you wrap them in a teacloth to avoid contact burns.
- Apply heat to the lower back for 1-3 minutes. Remove.
- Apply cold to the lower back for 1-3 minutes. Remove.
- Repeat the process 3-5 times.
- For best results perform gentle mobilisation exercises (see above) after each bout of ice and heat or after the complete session.
Traction for back pain
Traction has long been used in the treatment of lower back pain, particularly in cases of disc herniation and stenosis. Traction helps to elongate and ‘open up’ the spine, unloading irritated nerves or joints. There are many ways to traction the spine at home; gravity boots, inversion tables, hanging from a pull up bar. However, applying traction yourself safely can be difficult, particularly in cases of severe lower back pain, so it is recommended to talk to your chiropractor or physiotherapist before attempting self-traction at home.
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This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more information about Steffen click here.