This information should be used as guidance
only and should not replace professional medical advice you
may have received. If in doubt, contact your GP or other
qualified healthcare professional.
Tips to help at home work or play
Acceptance - It would
be wrong to say there is a cure for back pain. However, as
you can see there is plenty to help you live a better life
with back pain – look forward and start living again.
for assistance - Back pain is often
invisible – if you can’t do something ask for
At Home - Spread your housekeeping
duties over the whole week and don’t do it all in one
Avoid being overweight - Keep a healthy
weight to avoid excessive load on your spine.
packs - When carrying a load, consider
using a back pack worn on both shoulders. This avoids any
discomfort from carrying loads a-symmetrically.
and mattresses - A bed that suits
your back is probably the most important item in the home.
Don’t buy a bed without trying it first - the choice
is individual. The most expensive is not necessarily the
best. More information www.sleepcouncil.com
Deep Breathing - Great stress buster, especially
in the outdoors.
Driving - Take regular breaks
when having to drive long distances and if needed use an
extra lumbar support. An even better option may be to take
the train which allows you to move around regularly instead
of being in one position for a long time
- Back bad - discuss with your
manager if you can temporarily work different hours, do different
tasks or get help with those activities that exacerbate your
Footwear – You will walk
twice as far (in comfort) if you wear a pair of trainers
or sensible shoes. Keep fashionable shoes for smart occasions.
- The use of
long-handed tools can prevent much bending and twisting – for
more information visit www.thrive.org.uk
Get comfortable when working - Adjust your
work station, i.e. is your computer screen at the right height?
Do you have to do (too) much reaching? Do you have the correct
Healthy eating - Having a good diet
and drinking plenty of water is essential and can be life
Hot packs & Cold Packs - Try
applying a hot pack to the painful area. Available in most
pharmacies and larger supermarkets or if you prefer ….
a cold pack to the painful area. Special cold packs are available
but a bag of frozen peas works as well. Wrap the cold pack
in a towel or cloth and apply to painful area.
and set achievable goals - Back pain often comes
and goes and you may experience flare ups. You may find that
you can extend the periods of less pain by pacing yourself
and setting realistic goals.
Physical activity - It is
very important in keeping your back, and the rest of your
body, fit and healthy. Choose an activity or exercise you
Posture - Avoid long periods
of being in one position, move around regularly, stretch
and exercise your back muscles.
Prioritise and planning
- Make a list of
the things you have to do and prioritise. Don’t try
to do everything in one go spread your workload over a longer
Relaxation - Learn relaxation techniques
or find activities that you find enjoyable and relaxing.
E.g. meditation, reading, music, walking or dancing it’s
Remember - It’s your pain
and by looking after yourself you are less likely to need
the help of others.
Say No - be assertive
- don’t say
yes when you don’t want to.
Seating - Find
a chair that gives good support and stability and is not
too low. The ‘seat
part’ should be from the back to the front and support
the thighs to bend in the knees.
Seeking medical help -
Most back pain disappears within days or weeks. If your pain
persists, gets worse or you experience any other symptoms
(e.g. feeling unwell) you should see your GP or healthcare
Shopping - Using a high trolley
reduces the need to bend too much. Try carrying your shopping
in several bags instead of one big one or have it delivered.
- Sitting can be uncomfortable
but by putting a rolled up towel in your lower back, can
make you a lot more comfortable. There are also special lumbar
Sitting too long – Avoid
sitting too long using a simple kitchen timer. Set it for
no more than an hour to remind you to stretch or walk for
a few minutes.
Sleeping well - Find a position
that gives you most comfort. Use pillows to provide extra
support. You can place a pillow under your knees when sleeping
on your back or a pillow between your knees when sleeping
on your side. If you really can’t sleep – get
up for a short while – have a drink and return to bed.
- In one position for a long period
try resting one foot on a small step.
Stay Active - When you experience back
pain it is important to stay as active as possible to help
improve your recovery. Prolonged bed rest is often counter-productive
in managing back pain.
Stop smoking - It can increase your chances
of developing back pain since it restricts blood flow.
- Stretching regularly can reduce
your discomfort. Try to incorporate stretches in your daily
routine, for example when you get out of bed or when you
have been sitting for a long period.
breaks - Take regular stretch
breaks when doing repetitive work.
Taking sick leave
- If you do have to have
time off work, try to limit you time away, the longer you
are off; the more difficult it is to return. Ask if you can
reduce your hours for a short period.
Use of computers
- Browsing the internet
or playing computer games have become popular leisure time
activities for many. To reduce discomfort when using your
computer, you should set up your monitor at eye height, make
sure you can easily reach the keyboard and mouse and use
a chair that provides good support. Don’t forget to
take stretch breaks.
Use correct lifting and handling
techniques - Handling
heavy goods can put a big strain on your back. Lift by bending
from your knees, and use manual handling aids when available.
Lift in stages.
Use of medication - Consider
using over-the-counter pain killers. If you do, take them
regularly according to the instructions; don’t wait
until the pain is unbearable.
- Take a seat
near the aisle so you can get up regularly for a walk and
a stretch. Even better try and get a seat with extra leg
space so you can stretch a bit more.
Watching TV - Most
people tend to slouch when watching TV – try lying
or find the most comfortable position for you.