I'm finding more and more that my activities are limited by back pain. My family tell me to just push through the pain and do whatever I want anyway. Is this good advice? I'm afraid I'm just going to make myself worse.If you've had back pain for three months or more, then you have chronic back pain. If there's no known cause for this pain like a tumor or infection, then it's often referred to as mechanical pain.
Assuming you have seen a doctor and been told there isn't a medical problem, it's likely that increasing your activity won't cause any harm. Whatever happened to trigger the first episode of pain has most likely resolved by now. But the nervous sytem has turned on the pain signals and they haven't been turned off.
Many studies have shown now that physical activity and exercise is an important treatment tool for chronic back pain. A gradual program slowly but steadily introduced and increased is often beneficial.
Don't jump in and try to take on the full activity at a level equal to someone who doesn't have back pain. Pace yourself. Do a small amount one day and wait a day to see what effect it has. Many times patients have to work through a temporary increase in pain frequency, intensity, or duration before they are able to move ahead.
Give yourself a full month to six weeks of regular activity and exercise before deciding which way to go next. You may want to seek the counsel of your physician or the services of a physical therapist to help you with this program.
References:Ruth E. Johnson, PhD, et al. Active Exercise, Education, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Persistent Disabling Low Back Pain. In Spine. July 1, 2007. Vol. 32. No. 15. Pp. 1578-1585.
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