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Helping clients who suffer back pain. Part 4

Once acute pain has subsided, exercise to stretch and strengthen postural muscles is almost universally recommended. One bout of back pain is an indication that something needs attention. That something is usually a combination of correct body mechanics and physical fitness.

Bed rest, once the most popular treatment for back pain, has recently fallen into disfavor. While sometimes back pain is so incapacitating that you have no other option, you will be urged to get up as soon as you are able. Bed rest further weakens those very structures whose weaknesses may be causing the pain in the first place. Health professionals have also observed that prescribed bed rest can be the beginning of a disabled lifestyle, where the patient with back pain expects others to do things for them, and becomes psychologically, as well as physically, more fragile.

Back pain psychology
Back pain can be used, consciously or unconsciously, as a way to deal with (or avoid dealing with) an emotional problem. Therapy for people dealing with chronic pain often includes stress management and relaxation therapy.

So what do you recommend?
Recommend getting physician’s clearance, as much information as possible about the nature of the back problem, and exercise recommendations from the physician or physical therapist. If you are working with a client recovering from back pain, proceed with caution. Above all, do no harm. Be sure that you understand what restrictions have been placed upon a client’s exercise participation.

Along with exercise, encouragement is what clients with back pain need most, encouragement that through education and error, they can find ways to reduce their back pain, and overcome the limitations imposed by back problems.

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