Today’s episode is entitled “6 Mistakes recovering from back pain / sciatica”, and those mistakes are:
- Listening to everyone
- Masking the pain from back pain / sciatica
- Doing too much
- Doing too little
- Becoming a passive recipient of treatment
- Not having a plan for relief and prevention of back pain / sciatica
Listening to everyone
When it comes to recovering from back pain / sciatica, everyone -Google, your parents, the guy at work- has a view. 80% of adults will experience lower back pain / sciatica at some time in their lives. Everyone wants to tell you their experience and what you should do, but the reality is your back problem is unique to you. It’s unlikely that their experiences are identical to yours.
Google can only give back the quality of content dictated by the quality of your question, so if you ask “what are the six best things I can do for my lower back?”, you’re gonna get the most popular articles on that topic. Are they from experts? Probably not. Just because it’s at the top of the Google search rankings doesn’t mean it is the right advice for you. Consult an expert, someone who specializes in lower back pain / sciatica. It can be massively confusing when you’re getting different input from different people.
Masking the pain from back pain / sciatica
You shouldn’t suffer unnecessarily. If your pain is making it impossible to get sleep at night, use pain relief. It’s very important to get a good rest. However, remember: the biological purpose of pain is an alarm system. If you turn that alarm system off with pain killers and you do the things that would otherwise cause you pain, you will slow up or hold the process of recovering from back pain / sciatica. You could hold that phase entirely and kick right back into the kind of acute inflammatory stage by damaging tissue, which is trying to repair. Pain is your alarm system, it’s your body’s way of saying “stop”. Don’t use painkillers in order to do more.
Doing too much
If you have damaged something in your lower back, it needs time to heal. In competitive sport, the first thing they do when they have an injury is they come off on the ice packet. That’s to try and minimize the amount of tissue swelling in the first place, because you need that blood to come into the area. But sometimes, if there’s a huge amount of inflammation, it can take longer to get into the next phase of healing. So if you’re recovering from back pain / sciatica,
Doing too little
People either bash on and do too much, or they just rest and hope that when they next try and do something, the pain will have gone away. iThat’s a big mistake. Use it, but don’t abuse it. Stay active, but not to the point of doing too much. You may feel more comfortable at rest, but movement is essential. Blood flow helps you heal. You need to do drainage of lymphatic fluid and wash away inflammation in order to heal. If you’re not moving, your nervous system will stay in a state of alarm, sitting in the background waiting, trying to gather data all the time, and your brain is highly stressed because you’re resting. It knows things are not normal. So when you do move, there’s a greater chance that your nervous system gives you a bolt of pain.
Stay active within the limits of pain, don’t stick to your bed. Your nervous system stays in a high state of alarm, but you get pretty weak healing. The moment you try and stoop over to get something out of the dishwasher, you strain it again and again, because you’ve been too inactive. You’ve rested too much. When you’re recovering from back pain / sciatica, if you do too much, you hold up the rate of healing. If you do too little, the healing won’t be very strong and you’ll have a relatively weak union of those torn tissues and they will be more likely to tear again.
Becoming a passive recipient of treatment
It’s important to play an active role in your rehabilitation. If you go to a practitioner and they do things to you, but don’t give you things to do to help yourself, you’re becoming passive and disempowered. Then it’s more likely to happen again , and if it does, you don’t know how to help yourself. Seek to understand what the risk factors were for your particular problem.
Not having a plan for relief and prevention of back pain / sciatica
If you just focus on getting out of pain, that’s all you’ll ever achieve and then, like the majority of people with lower back pain, you’re in and out of pain for years. So build a plan.
If you’d like a free online assessment of lower back pain / sciatica, click the link.