Did you know that most of the time, when your back “goes out", your back is not actually going anywhere?
Although it may feel that parts of your back have moved, that something needs to be put back in place, however, there are no bones or discs moving from their regular position, so there’s nothing to “come back in.” Instead, what most often you’re experiencing is an injury to the muscles or ligaments around the spine.
The low back was designed to bend forward, backwards and to the side. It wasn't designed for rotational movements. Most often Strain occurs when you are rotating while bending forward your spine. The muscles and tendons are overstretched or torn, causing an inflammatory response. Often, the muscles in the front of your body (abdominal & hip flexor muscles) that help to stabilize the lumbar vertebrae also go into spasm as part of the body's protective response, leaving you stiff and in agony.
The conventional treatment involves a prescription for anti inflammatories and muscle relaxants. However if you are interested in a natural way of pain relief here are the steps you should follow:
1. Don't panic! Take deep breaths - inhale to a count of 10 and exhale to a count of 10 - and realize that you’re most likely not in any serious danger. The breathing muscle (diaphragm) has connective tissue attachments to the lumbar spine, so breathing actually helps loosening the tightness in your low back.
2. Lie on your back with both legs bent at 90 degree angles on a chair or block, hands by your side. Let the lower back relax. Hold this position as long as it is comfortable.
3. Massage & Trauma Liniment: Injury=inflammation. But stay away from the ice pack. (Read the blog post on why acupuncturist don't use ice). Turn to massage instead. Rub the tissue around the injured body part with Trauma Liniment. Initially use gentle pressure, but as swelling and pain decreases and the muscles start loosening up go deeper. Massage breaks up accumulations, loosens the tissue and helps improve blood flow while reduces swelling and pain. Trauma Liniment is used by martial artists all over the world, as the number one treatment for sprains, bruises, contusions and fractures. This liniment contains various herbs that stop pain, reduce swelling & inflammation and increase local blood flow without the unwanted side effects produced by icing.
4. Take herbs instead of anti inflammatories. Trauma Pill is the internal counterpart to Trauma Liniment. The pill helps preventing blood from congealing in the tissues of the injured area therefore facilitate the return of normal circulation, allowing the injury to heal. Take 1 pill twice a day for 2-3 days.
5. Get acupuncture: Stimulation of the motor points with acupuncture needles can be used to help retrain neuromuscular function lost due to muscle inhibition following injury or surgery.
6. Stay hydrated. Water helps hydrate your disks (the shock absorbers of the spine) and flushes toxins from the injury out of your system.
7. Movement: let pain be your guide. Don’t run the marathon the day after you throw out your back, but also don’t be afraid of moving around. Do simple range of motion exercises and stretches that do not aggravate the injury. Movements prevent muscle atrophy, restore normal function and help you return to your desired activities quicker.
8. Continue to take it easy for the first twenty-four hours. Rest as much as you can with your legs up on the chair (see point 2.) You should start to feel some easing of the pain now, and some renewed ability to move.
If you’re still unable to move much after 48 hours or if you feel numbness or shooting pain down your leg, or have bowel problems, please get to your doctor as soon as you can. In most cases, however, the combination of steps listed above will bring you gradual relief. After the first 48 hours, continue to gradually increase your movements, but give yourself 1–3 weeks to fully recover.