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You've hurt your back, don't panic!


It's a common scenario most of us have all been in. You've just bent down to tie your shoelaces, you feel that all too familiar twinge in your back and the next thing you know your whole back seizes up. Panic sets in. How did I manage to do that? How am I going to work? Who is going to cook dinner for the kids tonight? When will I be able to see my osteopath?


From clinical experience and the latest scientific evidence we find if patients have a plan for when things go wrong, they can not only stop themselves from panicking, they regain control of their condition. This is known as self-efficacy, or the ability to help yourself when you're in trouble. This stops people's pain from interfering so much with their lives.


Below are some ideas for helping you deal with a flare up and to help you make your own step by step plan. Put this somewhere you can access it easily (for example in your wallet, in your phone or with a support person). Pick at least 3 or 4 of the strategies below:


  • Calming self statement "I can get through this flare up"

  • do some mindfulness meditation

  • do some gentle stretches that you have been shown

  • do a productive exercise therapy that doesn't aggravate your pain too much (walking, swimming etc)

  • use a heat pack or have a hot shower

  • phone a friend

  • do an enjoyable activity

  • avoid pain medication as often as you can, but have a clear plan of when you really need it (for example, "if i tried......and my pain in still there I can take....tablets.....medication"

One of our osteopaths will be able to help you if you need assistance with any of these steps or need your stretches/exercises updated. One of the most important things to do when we know there isn't any serious damage, is to continue to move, stretch and get on with your daily activities, despite your pain.


Please note, the advice above is generalised and may not be specific to your situation. If in doubt please contact one of our osteopaths or another health care provider to provide a specific diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

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