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Three Things You Should NEVER EVER Do When You Have Back Pain

Top Three Things NOT to Do When You Have Back Pain

We got some email requests for a video on what NOT to do when your back hurts

Pain that messes with you – no activities, takes you out of work etc. keeps you from playing with kids – is the pain that starts as nothing at all. It’s a stiff back, a weird feeling, a hunch. It’s sore a little after playing badminton in the yard. It’s “that” feeling.

Surgery does not come from a car accident or bad accident – not that that CAN’T cause it – but most people that are getting shots or in chronic pain started out with a stiff back, or a “weird feeling”, or “tired back syndrome”.

If your back is stiff it’s not part of aging, or because it runs in your family. It is an indicator that something is wrong. Granted you can still do what you want to do – you can still function – you can still do your activities – but that stiffness or light pain is not going to stay that way. It might take 6 months; it might take a year but it is a warning that there is a problem that you need to deal with. I don’t know what you call it, stiffness, pain, soreness, and odd feeling, whatever you call it, you need to deal with it early.

It is the pain that will turn into disc problems or worse. It is the pain that will turn into you can’t sit in a car for a long time, or play with your kids or this or that. You won’t be able to work, or do yard work. It will cost you for MRIs and shots and pills. It is the stiffness or pain or whatever you want to call it that will take a few exercises, a few visits and a little therapy I can do in here in just a couple visits and knock it out – or you can wait and you can spend a ton of money and a ton of time on it.

Problems are easiest to take care of when they are small – when they are new – when they are something you notice and not a major life changer. Once you are losing activities, once you CAN’T do things, now you need a LOT of physical therapy, or surgery, or shots or whatever and it costs you more time, more pain, more money, more everything. So come in while it is new, simple, and easy to fix. Come it while you still have your mobility and take care of a simple, small problem.

Now for the top 3 things NOT to do when you have back pain.

Lounge on the sofa or your favorite chair (increases back pain)

The number one history when I take when I walk in a room is

“I started to get these spasms one day while I was bending over the sink and I would lock up and I would have to stay there – or I got stuck picking something up.” Then – you went a laid on the couch. A day. A week it’s amazing how long people will lay on the couch. When you get a spasm, it is muscle – it is seizing up on you. What’s the worst thing you can do to a muscle that is seizing up on you? Deprive it of blood – fresh healthy nutritious blood. GO lay on the couch and keep the healthy fresh blood from that angry, hungry area. That never helped anybody.

What SHOULD you do? Walk. Get out of your flip flops, get out of your fancy, schmancy high heels. You don’t need to throw on sneakers and run a marathon but get outside and walk – walk a few blocks or further and swing your arms and breath. Stand up straight and walk and breath and move and keep those muscles warm and fed and full of blood. Keep them happy and aligned – not scrunched up in a soft squishy couch that messes with your spine alignment and so on. Keep the walking to smooth surfaces that are relatively flat – not heavy hiking on steep hills – we don’t have to be crazy here, but keep moving and keep active. That is the best thing for your back – not laying down, not immobility, not decreasing circulation etc. Light activity, light walking, slight arm swing and breathing. KEEP MOVING!

You can even get into the pool whatever you have available. Get moving and keep moving. Do not stop.


This gets people into trouble.

You want to see how to lift? Throw a ball into a day care center full of little kids and watch them squat, pull the ball to their chest and stand straight up. They are perfection.

I bet hardly any of you could do 20 squats without being sore the next day or getting out of breath – how many of you can eve DO 20 squats period?

Bending at the waist stresses your back – you are herniating all your discs and yes you can do it 1000 times and nothing happens. But you never know when it’s going to go. It’s like gambling every day of your life. Every time you do it you run the risk of a back spasm or throwing out a disc. You are not a physiological wonder – you have the same amount of risk as everyone else. You cannot afford this – this causes people to lose jobs. This causes time off of work, lost money, lost wages, misery.

Lift like a golfer. Stand on one leg and pivot or squat like those little kids. Bending at your back aggravates everything and eventually it is going to go. Not tomorrow, not next week but all that little microtrauma is adding up and soon you will be bent over and stuck missing work and spending money on shots and losing money from missing work. OR you can come to PT for a few visits, spend relatively little money, lose no time at work, no time with loved ones and so on and be good and have exercises and strategies to deal with any stiffness or little pain going forward

Never sit for more than 30 minutes (or maybe 45) because this causes BACK PAIN

I know. I get it all the time. But Becky, but Becky – I know. Your body is not designed to sit all day, in a cubicle, at a desk, staring at a computer. Now, I realize if you are driving or doing something you are going to sit – your body is designed to allow you to sit for longer times than 30 or 45 minutes – but not day in and day out. Yet most of us sit all the time. We sit all day everyday all day at work.

Set your phone – set your watch whatever you have. Thirty minutes and get up and let that back get blood. Your brain will thank you too. There are tons of studies that there is increased productivity and improved brain activity when people get up and move during the day. I’m not saying get up and walk for miles. I mean stand up and let the fresh blood just wash over you – get into your limbs and your back and your brain. Get all over you and make your back and discs and muscles happy and improve how you think and feel and work. Just set your watch – I know you get sucked in and there are a million excuses. Just set an alarm and stand up. Take a deep breath and stretch. Just the simple act of standing and moving will save you money because you will not lose out on work or family activities. You will feel a difference after a few weeks – after you make this a habit you will notice a difference.

“Yea my back is sore but I don’t think sitting has anything to do with it?” Yes, it has EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT!! It is what is destroying your discs and you muscles more than anything. GET UP AND MOVE.

Now if you are interested we have back pain workshops. I am adding a link on this post and in the comments. We can discuss all of this in more detail and discuss your individual problems and concerns and answer questions at the back pain work shop – or post your questions in the comments. Either way we will answer them. Get yourself into one of our workshops and learn about back pain and learn how to help it without surgery and injections