Acute Low Back Pain. General Instructions

You must retain the lordosis at all times (lordosis is the hollow in the lower back). Bending forwards as in touching the toes will only stretch and weaken the supporting structures of the back and lead to further injury. Losing the lordosis when sitting will also cause further strain.

SITTING

  • When in acute pain you should sit as little as possible, and then only for short periods only.
  • At all times you must sit with a lordosis. Therefore you must place a supportive roll in the small of the back, especially when sitting in a car or lounge chair.
  • If you have the choice you must sit on a firm, high chair with a straight back such as a kitchen chair. You should avoid sitting on a low, soft couch with a deep seat; this will force you to sit with hips lower than knees, and you will round the back and lose the lordosis.
  • The legs must never be kept straight out in front as in sitting in bed, in the bath or on the floor; in this position you are forced to lose the lordosis.
  • When rising from sitting you must retain the lordosis; move to the front of the seat, stand up by straightening the legs, and avoid bending forwards at the waist.
  • Poor sitting postures are certain to keep you in pain or make you worse.
READ:   Spine Health. PROCEDURE 14 — FLEXION IN STANDING

DRIVING A CAR

  • When in acute pain you should drive the car as little as possible. It is better to be a passenger than to drive yourself.
  • When driving, your seat must be close enough to the steering wheel to allow you to maintain the lordosis. If in this position your hips are lower than your knees you may be able to raise yourself by sitting on a pillow.

BENDING FORWARDS

  • When in acute pain you should avoid activities which require bending forwards or stooping, as you will be forced to lose the lordosis.
  • You may be able to retain the lordosis by kneeling — for example, when making the bed, vacuuming, cleaning the floor, or weeding the garden.
READ:   Spine Health. PROCEDURE 12 — ROTATION MANIPULATION IN FLEXION

LIFTING

  • When in acute pain you should avoid lifting altogether.
    If this is not possible you should at least not lift objects that are awkward or heavier than about thirty pounds.
    You must always use the correct lifting technique: during lifting the back must remain upright and never stoop or bend forwards; stand close to the load, have a firm footing and wide stance; bend the knees and keep the back straight; have a secure grip on the load; lift by straightening the knees; take a steady lift and do not jerk; shift your feet to turn and do not twist your back.
READ:   Spine Health. PROCEDURE 11 — SUSTAINED ROTATION/MOBILISATION IN FLEXION

LYING

  • A good firm support is usually desirable when lying. If your bed is sagging, slats or plywood supports between mattress and base will firm it. You can also place the mattress on the floor, a simple but temporary solution.
  • You may be more comfortable at night when you use a supportive roll. A rolled up towel, wound around your waist and tied down in front, is usually satisfactory.
  • When rising from lying you must retain the lordosis; turn on one side, draw both knees up and drop the feet over the edge of the bed; sit up by pushing yourself up with the hands and avoid bending forwards at the waist.
READ:   ASSESSMENT OF PAIN

COUGHING AND SNEEZING

  • When in acute pain you must try to stand up, bend backwards and increase the lordosis while you cough and sneeze.

REMEMBER

  • At all times you must retain the lordosis; if you slouch you will have discomfort and pain.
  • Good posture is the key to spinal comfort.
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 8 — EXTENSION MANIPULATION There are many techniques devised for manipulation of the lumbar spine in extension. It is not important which technique is used, provided the technique is performed on the properly selected patient and applied in the correct direction. The technique that I recommend is similar to the first two manipulations described by Cyriax for the reduction of a lumbar disc lesion. The patient lies prone as for procedure 1. The therapist stands to one side of the patient and, having selected the affected segment, places the hands on either side of the spine as for the technique of extension mobilisation (procedure 7), which is always applied as a premanipulative testing procedure. If following testing the manipulation is indicated, the therapist leans over the patient with the arms at right angles to the spine and forces slowly downwards until the spine feels taut. Then a high velocity thrust of very short amplitude is applied and immediately released. Fig. Extension manipulation. The eff...
WHAT IS PAIN? Definition of Pain In dictionaries, pain (ICD-9: 780.96) is defined as a sensation of hurting or of strong discomfort in some part of the body, caused by an injury, a disease, or a functional disorder and transmitted through the nervous system. A nurse, Margo McCaffery, who worked for years with clients in pain and conducted extensive research in the field of pain, defines pain as whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing when he or she says it does. This definition is perhaps the most useful because it acknowledges the client’s complaint, recognizes the subjective nature of pain, and implicitly suggests that diverse measures may be undertaken to relieve pain. The IASP and the American Pain Society (APS) define pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience arising from actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage. Again, this definition further confirms the multiple components of pain in a person’s psychological and physiological exist...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 17 – SELF-CORRECTION OF LATERAL SHIFT Having corrected the lateral shift and the blockage to extension, it is now essential to teach the patient to perform self-correction by side gliding in standing followed by extension in standing. This must be done on the very first day, so that the patient is equipped with a means of reducing the derangement himself at first sign of regression. Failure to teach self-correction will lead to recurrence within hours, ruining the initial reduction, and the patient will return the next day with the same deformity as on his first visit. I have discarded the technique of self-correction as described previously and instead I now teach patients to respond to pressures applied laterally against shoulder and pelvis. Initially, therapist’ assistance is required. Patient and therapist stand facing each other. The therapist places one hand on the patient’s shoulder on the side to which he deviates, and the other hand on the patient’s opposite iliac crest. The therapist applies pressure by squeez...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 7 — EXTENSION MOBILISATION The patient lies prone as for procedure 1. The therapist stands to one side of the patient, crosses the arms and places the heels of the hands on the transverse processes of the appropriate lumbar segment. A gentle pressure is applied symmetrically and immediately released, but the hands must not lose contact. This is repeated rhythmically to the same segment about ten times. Each pressure is a little stronger than the previous one, depending on the patient’s tolerance and the behaviour of the pain. The procedure should be applied to the adjacent segments, one at a time, until all the areas affected have been mobilised. Fig. Positioning of hands prior to extension mobilisation. Extension mobilisation. Effects: In this procedure the external force applied by the therapist enhances the effects on derangement and dysfunction as described for the previous extension procedures. In general, symmetrical pressures are used on patients with central and bilateral symptoms. Therapist-...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 11 — SUSTAINED ROTATION/MOBILISATION IN FLEXION The patient lies supine on the couch, and the therapist stands on the side to which the legs are to be drawn, facing the head end of the couch. The patient’s far shoulder is held firmly on the couch by the therapist’s near hand, providing fixation and stabilisation. With the other hand the therapist flexes the patient’s hips and knees to a rightangle and carries them towards himself, causing the lumbar spine to rotate. With the patient’s ankles resting on the therapist’s thigh the knees are allowed to sink as far as possible and the legs are permitted to rest in that extreme position. The lumbar spine is now hanging on its ligaments in a position which combines side bending and rotation. By pushing the knees further towards the floor the therapist applies overpressure to take up the remaining slack in the lumbar spine. Depending on the purpose for which the procedure is used, the position of extreme rotation is maintained for a shorter or longer period. Fig. Sustained rotation/mob...