5 BIG Mistakes People with Bad Back Pain Make

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in August of 2019. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO0Z6YB51ek&t=119s

Bob: Alright today, Brad, we’re going to talk about five big mistakes people with bad back pain make. Brad and I have been working in the therapy business way longer than we want to admit. That’s the gray hair and wrinkles. But over this period of time, these are the mistakes that we see people commonly make, especially when they have severe back pain. So, we’ll go over those. Number one, people think their back cannot heal. Let’s talk about when people come in, especially if they’ve had back pain for a long time, Brad, they have it in their head that their back is very delicate. Basically, they also believe that it’s unable to heal. Now, the body has an amazing ability to heal itself. We’ve seen this again and again. All you need to do, is create an environment, so it wants to heal and you’re not making it worse. Two, you may want to do some other things like exercise in order to promote the healing, and you get more blood flow to it.

Brad: So, sometimes it's one way where people aren’t moving enough, and other times, people are moving too much in the wrong manner.

Bob: Doing the wrong stuff and they’re not holding back. That’s basically on personality types there. I had one guy, Brad and I were talking about this before, he had it in his head that his back was broken and there was nothing he could do about it. I have to be honest; I don’t have good luck with patients like that because they have to buy into the belief that it can get better. I want to give Brad some kudos here. Brad is a prime example. He has grade two, you can say it, Brad,

Brad: Spondylolisthesis. The vertebra actually shifted about two centimeters and I have no disc in that particular one. My lower discs are both gone basically. The bones, I believe, are fused together, but when I saw the X-rays, it looks like my back is broken.

Bob: Yes, one bone is completely shifted forward. It’s very noticeable.

Brad: Right. It’s, wow!

Bob: If you’re the layperson, and you’re thinking, “oh my God, I better not even move this back.” The fusion shows you again here’s nature’s way of trying to protect the back by fusing it. I always say this as an example too, if you were the average layperson, Brad, I believe that you would be disabled. And here you are, you do triathlons, bike-a-thons, what do you call them? Bike-things.

Brad: Bike races. But I cannot do it like I could otherwise. But I can still do it.

Bob: Yeah, you’re 100 years old. What do you expect?

Brad: Oh, Bob.

Bob: Well what do you think, you can do it like when you were younger? Anyway, you need to get that out of your head. You need to have the right way of thinking and try some of these things.

Brad: But you need to treat your back right, by the way. Get educated on how to do it, see a therapist, see our videos, things like that.

Bob: Good point, Brad. Number two mistake we see people do is; they stop moving. One thing they might do is go on bed rest right away. They don’t recommend that hardly at all now. Maybe one day but really, you want to get it moving as fast as possible. Figure out something that you can do without increased pain. Quite often, is simply walking. Maybe it’s walking with a walking stick or a cane, or something, but get some walking going. We don’t want you to increase the pain by doing it, but quite often, by walking, it actually starts to feel a little bit better.

Brad: Get things moving. You know, you need to walk on the flat. If you’re walking uphill, downhill or on an incline, one way or another, that’s probably going to tilt the pelvis and irritate it.

Bob: Avoid stairs, avoid going up and down hills, yes. Swimming you might try. Maybe biking for some people might feel better, but get moving.

Brad: We’ve got some really good videos on simple exercises you can do in bed.

Bob: We’re going to do that next, Brad. Number three, people are doing the wrong exercises. Generally, we have the best luck with one of the three versions, really. I’m going to show these very quickly because that’s not what this video is about. I’m just going to show that there are exercises. If you just want to stand up Brad. The first one is rotations. Here you’ve got one where you lay on your back, you put your feet together and bring your legs back and forth like this. Brad likes to call it the windshield wipers. If this doesn’t hurt, keep doing it. If it hurts going in one direction, don’t do it in that direction; go in the other direction instead. If that feels good, just work it in that direction.

Brad: I mean; you’re not going to do them for an hour. You do them maybe 3-5 minutes.

Bob: And you might do it a bunch of times during the day if it feels good.

Brad: Sure.

Bob: Flexion is another one. This feels good. A lot of arthritis patients, you might start with just single leg like this, and then work into double leg and just do pressure on, pressure off.

Bob: The final one, Brad, is the one for a lot of people. They actually do well with extension. Arms underneath, pelvis stays on the bed or on the floor. They’re not lifting this up like this, and they’re working their body into extension. Generally, one of those three is going to help.

Brad: Right.

Bob: I don’t know which one, but it often dependent on whether or not you have a disk problem or arthritis or stenosis or whatever.

Brad: One way or another, this video’s not to figure that out.

Bob: Number four, you start on opioid medications and you stay on them. You need to find some alternatives. Your back is not going to get better if you become addicted to the opioids or dependent upon them.

Brad: Right. There are so many stories of bad things that happen like overuse.

Bob: It’s very easy to do that. It happened to my mother-in-law. It’s funny because she said, “I’m not going to become an addict or anything.” I said, “No, you become dependent upon it,” and she did. It was a really terrible thing. She had a personality change, and she would get angry at everything.

Brad: It wasn’t just around you?

Bob: No, it wasn’t! I was wondering If my wife was on opioids. Ha-ha

Brad: BOB! You better hope she doesn’t watch this one.

Bob: I hope not because she’ll get madder even yet. Alright, so, an alternative is you might try things to help manage the pain throughout the day. You might take an icepack, people like that. You use icepacks.

Brad: If I do something silly throughout the day, like do some yard work because I enjoy doing it, sore back, that night, I have to get a cold pack. Lay on the floor or my bed with the leg wedge, which we don’t have it here. That’s too bad we didn’t bring that over.

Bob: Yeah, we should have.

Brad: We’ve got a number of videos on that.

Bob: Another thing is, we really like the Thermotex. Going in the other direction is infrared heat. If you’re wondering why Brad is wearing this thing, it’s because this is the platinum Thermotex model. What’s nice about this, we’ll talk about how infrared heat works in a minute, but it’s got two straps and the straps especially if you’re having trouble with the upper back but even lower back, it will actually pull you into good posture.

Brad: So, they’re gently pulling back, and posture is very critical with back pain. If you have poor posture, it’s going to contribute to it, so we want to get the posture better and that’s what the straps do. Plus, it’s got that deep infrared heat pack that goes up to 2.36 inches deep.