When treating back pain, activity is #1 recommendation


Dr. Marc Bijman, BSc HK, DC

 --4 minute read --

Exercises such as walking can decrease back pain by 10–50%

We’ve heard the old adage, when you have back pain: “take it easy” or “stay in bed”. Back (no pun intended) 30, 20 and even 5–10 years ago, doctors (including chiropractors) recommended bed rest for lower back pain.

This kind of advice often will not contribute to your recovery, and in many cases, can even make your back pain worse. Inactivity decreases proper food intake and mood; which can lead to physical deconditioning and weakness.

What our bodies so desperately crave is movement

Our Neanderthal ancestors didn’t sit around watching Netflix and eating delicious, sugar-filled chocolate chip cookies…they moved! So much attention is given to diet trends like the Paleo and Keto diet, so we can eat as our great ancestors did, but rarely do we talk about moving like our ancestors.

We were built to walk several kilometres per day to avoid predators, find food and perpetuate the gene pool.

I took a gander at the research, and science is behind these claims:

Being a Doctor of Chiropractic, I have spent many years learning about how to treat back pain.

Dr. Stuart McGill, a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, and the “godfather of lower back pain” has said that one of the most effective treatments for back pain is a short walk in the morning, afternoon and evening. After each treatment session with my patients, I always recommend 20 minutes of walking, and patients report a significant reduction in their pain levels.

Now, I need to pump the brakes a little.

Movement may be the number one recommendation for back pain, however, there are some rare instances when movement may be detrimental. Serious injuries, broken bones, falls or car accidents may warrant an examination first before movement is initiated. This is where your local chiropractor, physiotherapist, or medical doctor comes in.

They will rule out any sinister back conditions, and allow you to enjoy the benefits of movement worry-free! Sometimes movement can be as simple as a vertebrae that is stuck or a trapezius muscle fibre that isn’t firing correctly; all of which can be dealt with by your practitioner.

Dr. Marc Bijman

Dr. Marc Bijman


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