The coronavirus is forcing everyone to adapt to new routines — but many of us are still experiencing the same old chronic pain. In fact, your back pain may start acting up again now due to stress, decreased exercise, and more time spent at home on your computer. The important thing is that you don’t ignore it! Listen to your body and KEEP MOVING!
Many of our clients who suffer from back pain have been told (or have simply assumed) that the best way to recover from their pain is to ice and lie down, using their back muscles as little as possible. They’ve been advised to rest, relax, and limit their movement until the pain goes away.
The problem with this model for treatment is that it goes against everything we know about the basic principles of joint and tissue healing. Our modern health research suggests that early movement is actually the BEST way to head off chronic back pain! Of course, if you’ve suffered a trauma like a car accident or a major fall, you should absolutely go get checked out by a medical professional and follow their advice based on your injuries. But if you are dealing with a chronically aching back or general soreness, stiffness and pain, it turns out that movement is actually the best course of action!
Of course, not ALL types of movement and exercise are safe or beneficial when you’ve hurt your back …
That’s where physical therapy comes in! A physical therapist is able to identify specific movements that actually work through and relieve that pain, based on your individual condition. We call these initial exercises “first aid movements” — and they are especially helpful because you can use them any time you might tweak your back in the future! If you’re experiencing acute back pain, of course it doesn’t make sense to continue with all of your activities as usual if they are just exacerbating your symptoms. But there is a middle ground between overdoing it and completely stopping the movement that your body craves.
But how are we supposed to see a physical therapist, you ask, when everything is shutting down to contain this virus?
Thanks to technology, there are so many amazing options right now.
At our office, for example, we made our Pilates classes and most of our physical therapy sessions virtual and it’s been going great! Our clients tell us it feels like they are right there with us and are so grateful for the opportunity to keep their routine. We are also planning to still hold our FREE Low Back Pain and Sciatica workshop on Thursday, April 9; as well as our Pilates 101: Get [Your] Back to Health Program starting April 14 — except they will both be live and online!
So please, please don’t let this pandemic keep you from your everyday health and mobility routine. Check out your regular offices and ask if they’ve gone virtual. Or give our office a call and we’ll be glad to help you out.
Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoastonline. To get in touch, email her at email@example.com or call 603-380-7902.