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  • Writer's pictureTeam TAOT

You Have Low-Back Pain...Now What? (A Triage System in 4 minutes)

No fluff, no deep dives.

Let's get into it.

You have back pain. Maybe it's sharp when you make a certain movement. Maybe it's constant and nagging. Maybe it radiates down your leg (see our Disc/Sciatica program). Either way, the worst option for how to move forward is to ignore it. So here is a 4-step process to get your low back...back on track!

STEP 1: Identify which pain bucket(s) you fall into.

  • Is the pain new or old?

  • Is the pain sharp or dull?

  • Does the pain prevent you from completing your work or hobbies?

  • Does the pain keep you up at night?

  • Is the pain constant or does it come and go?

  • Find your triggers. Does it hurt to bend forward or backward? Or lifting from the floor or twisting the spine...

STEP 2: Identify your direction!

  • When to see a doctor/PT/Chiro?

    • Pain at night that prevents rest

    • Pain that never goes away - No relief

    • Pain that has worsened over time

  • When to manage the pain yourself?

    • The pain is uncomfortable but not preventing you from doing your daily life

    • If you've identified and understood your Triggers!

    • You have an action plan

      • Not every plan will work, but having no plan is a bad plan...try something and adjust based on the results you are getting!

    • Chronic pain that isn't debilitating

STEP 3: Choose an Action Plan!

  • Train your pain!

    • I would suggest that more times than not, training the injured area is the answer while avoidance and being passive (aka extended "rest") is harmful!

    • Train the back pain in a pain-free manner. Find ways to exercise the region of pain but in ways that do not worsen your pain.

*** Unsure of where to start, try one of our Fix Your Low-Back Pain programs or join the Stretch Club if you are doing better but need the pain to stay away!

  • How to train your pain?

    • Move

      • The spine is a system of joints. Joints are meant to MOVE. Move them.

    • Strengthen

      • The tissues of our body are only as reliable as they are strong. If the tissues cannot tolerate forces and loads...they break! Magic solution: make them stronger!

    • Lengthen

      • Another culprit in the nagging phenomenon of low back pain is tightness

        • Often hip flexors (Psoas, Iliacus, Quads, TFL) in tandem with tight/short low-back muscles create a condition of constant tension and strain

  • Rules

    • No sharp pain!

    • No dull pain more than a 3/10 intensity

    • Your pain shouldn't feel significantly worse the following day

    • Avoid the triggers. Stop doing those things you know are causing your lower back pain (sitting too long, that gym exercise you love, a 5-hour session of Fortnite).

  • Seek Professional Help

    • Often we need the in-person touch

    • If our programs are not the right fit for you now, seek local help from a physical therapist or chiropractor. A medical doctor is most warranted with traumatic injuries or intense pain that is not being managed well on your own.

      • If you have pain at night, losing weight without trying, or are having numbness and pain to the extent you are losing muscle function - seek a medical doctor ASAP.

STEP 4: Commit to the Action Plan

  • If it sounds simple, it is. We must TRY the plan first. If you exercise, eat right for ONE day, and look in the mirror, you will see...nothing! But commit to your new routine for a few weeks and will making excellent progress. Retraining the body is no different. It typically takes 4 weeks at a minimum to see true strength gains. However, results on your pain can be noticed in as little as 1-2 weeks.

  • We love recommending The Stretch Club when you want an easy-to-follow routine to keep your body moving in the right direction!

In conclusion:

Most low-back pain is from an irritated joint, unhappy muscles, an angry disc...or some combination. And 95% of the time the right thing to do is NOT is taking an active approach.

The only difference between a trained health professional and a layperson is the hypothesis and treatment options are great. But we do the same scientific process as anyone else.

  1. Find the problem (Find a pain-free way to train the area and avoid the triggers!)

  2. Avoid irritating the problem

  3. Train or modify the problem in a way that creates relief

  4. Try to bulletproof the body so it doesn't come back (continue to train the area in small ways to avoid returning to your painful state).

So therefore you 1) identify your bucket 2) Identify your correction direction 3) Identify the plan and finally 4) Commit to the action plan.

If there were a Step 5 it would be to analyze your results after 2-4 weeks and reassess. Maybe you need to do more, or less, or add something in, or seek professional help....or maybe toss that plan in the trash and try a whole new Action Plan!

Like anything worthwhile in life, you need to go after it...sitting around and waiting is rarely the ideal solution!

Best of luck in your recovery!


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