Carrie Jose Health and Wellness Is rest or movement best for back pain?

Carrie Jose Health and Wellness Is rest or movement best for back pain?

When you’re in pain – especially if it’s back pain – your first inclination may be to lay off all activity and rest. But is this really the best thing to do? 

When it comes to back pain – my answer is usually “No”. But I understand why this advice might sound strange or counter-intuitive. It’s scary to move when you’re in pain. And how do you know which exercise is best for your back when it hurts? Plus, advice from the medical community often conflicts with current research. Many people suffering from back pain – especially if it’s an acute injury or episode – are told to rest, ice, and take anti-inflammatories.

They are told to limit their movement and activity until their pain goes away. Well science says that 80% of all back problems are mechanical in nature – which means they respond best to movement – even if your back pain is acute. 

Let me help you understand. 

Mechanical pain occurs when something in your joint (and your spine is made up of a bunch of joints) is restricted in a way that obstructs your normal movement. It’s why back pain is often accompanied by stiffness. The obstruction can be caused by any structure in your spine, such as a bulging disc, ligament, or even abnormalities from arthritis.  What the research has found with mechanical pain is that if you move in the right way – usually in a specific direction – you can “release” the obstruction.  When you’re able to move normally again without stiffness – you have less pain.