Back & neck pain home relief: 5 common mistakes you didn’t know!
Back and neck pain are one of the most common complaints during lockdown. Working from home without a proper office setting, bad posture and stress are some of the main reasons of back and neck pain. So, in a desperate attempt to relieve the pain, we buy expensive products that claim to be good at relieving back pain.
I have seen a lot of advertising on the internet recommending products for back & neck pain such as massage guns. Before you invest in tools or products try to find the cause of your problem, as the back & neck pain origin could be different from person to person. Ask your Physio, osteopath, sports or massage therapist first to make sure the product is suitable for you.
5 common mistakes when treating back and neck pain at home
1. No knowing the cause of your back and neck pain
There are many causes of back and neck pain ranging from strains, sprains,fractures, discs, nerves, joints or more complex cases such as cancer, kidneys, vitamin/mineral deficiency or even heart conditions. First you need to have the correct diagnosis to receive the most appropriate advice for your particular injury or problem. As I mentioned before, although you might present the same symptoms as someone else, the root of the pain may be different.
2. Incorrect use of Ice packs
Unlike what you read everywhere, cold therapy should be applied precisely on the inflamed tissue and not a big bag of peas all over for the whole area. That is why we recommend using individual ice cubes wrapped in a thin plastic bag or towel. The cold needs to be powerful enough to reach the correct depth and the bag of peas does not. Also, surrounding areas near the inflammation might need to be released from tightness and spasms. These areas need heat, not cold.
When using a cold ice pack on an injured area, leave for 5-10 minutes. The skin should not go red, if it does take the ice off, wait and repeat. For acute injury (less than 36h) repeat every two hours otherwise three times a day, evenly spaced.
3. Icing fractures
If you suspect a fracture do not use ice as you may be disrupting the blood supply to the area, which is more important than calming the inflammation. Never ice over organs.
You need to see medical advice as soon as possible. In the case of rib fracture they heal by themselves, but it is good to have an X-ray to make sure the internal organs aren’t compromised.
4. Sleeping in the wrong position
The worst thing you can do is sleep on your front with your head twisted. You can get muscle shortening, spasm or severe joint restrictions. Your abdomen is sinking with no support for the lower back.
Use a firm mattress with correct pillow height and ideally sleep on your back. Ensure your pillow supports your head properly and place a pillow under your knee in order to maintain a correct alignment of your spine. If the pillow is too high this will increase neck flexion causing strain in the cervical region (neck). If you want more info in sleeping posture read our blog sleep postures
5. Stop moving because you are feeling back or neck pain
When we are feeling back or neck pain our instinct is to stay in bed or lay down on the sofa and don’t move. Lack of movement makes the pain worse. Walk around and slowly to keep the blood flow. Avoid stairs if your pain is focused on your lower back. Try gentle stretches:
For your upper back try shoulder rolls (general ease): Roll shoulders up, back and down, squeeze shoulder blades together.
For your lower back: 1) Lie on your back with your knees bent, 2) Raise one knee towards your chest as far as you can, and then raise the other to meet it. 3) Place your hands around your knees and pull them gently towards you until you feel a stretch in your back. 4) Relax.
If you can’t move your neck, use hot bottle water and avoid hot baths.
If you are having back and neck pain and you need help , call us or click here to discuss your particular issues or to book an online assessment with our physio, osteopathy or Sports Therapy. We are happy to help!