I don’t like to limit patients on what they can do. Isn’t the whole purpose of taking care of your back pain so you can do what you enjoy? If you wanted to be limited, you would be sitting around taking vicodin.
Of course, every patient and every condition is different, but for a general rule it is better to continue to do light to moderate activity. This includes light household duties, walking in good supportive shoes for short distances (such as grocery shopping), and gentle bending and squatting using good body mechanics. Things you do want to avoid would be lifting, bending at the waist, compressive activities such as running, and long car rides or sitting for extended periods.
Many years ago the prescription for back pain was bed rest. You may remember your grandmother telling you she laid in bed for a week with back pain. Modern medicine has changed a lot and so has chiropractic care and the treatment of back pain. We now know that bed rest is terrible for back pain recovery. The joints are not moving, the muscles spasm and tighten, and you can even develop atrophy-weakness in the muscles.
The one typical exception to the rule is a disc herniation. There is a whole classification of disc herniations and I will cover that in a future blog, but for now we will generalize. If you have a disc that has bulged out enough to compress the spinal cord or nerve we will change some of these restrictions, for example no lifting or bending. You still need to be active and use therapies that will decrease swelling and pain, such as NSAID’s and ice, but in addition to corrective procedures like chiropractic care to pull the disc back into place. If your condition is beyond my help I have some wonderful neurosurgeons that I work with that will take great care of you and get you back on track.
What’s the Big Idea in all of this? Don’t let back or neck pain limit what you are able to do in life. There is a fix to your condition and pain. You should be able to enjoy life and do the activities you want to do.