Better Back Health Part 4: Back to Work

Categories: Accident Recovery

Jay Stillman

4 min read

Construction Accident
Credit: Staff Sgt. J. Wagner [Public Domain]
The Stillman and Friedland legal team deals with many cases of debilitating back injuries each year. Our goal for our clients is to see that each person gets proper treatment for their injuries and a fair settlement to cover the costs of care and rehabilitation, plus lost wages and pain and suffering. In the best case scenario, clients recover physically and financially from their accident, and return to their normal, productive lives. Today, we offer some pointers on how to keep fit and functional after a back injury.

Peter Attia, who recovered from brutally crippling back pain, goes through his regular workouts. We don’t expect our clients to push this hard, but it does show what you can do!

Peter Attia - Tire flipping, jumping pull-ups, and other fun things you can do without carbs

In our previous blog, we discussed treatment modalities, including exercise within the framework of physical therapy. It sounds simple, but if physical therapy helped to get you better, continue to use the exercises—don’t quit! Once you have had a back injury you are more vulnerable to additional injury. Using your stretching exercises on a continual basis will have a preventive effect and help you avoid another injury. Strong back muscles help heal and prevent back injuries.

Another key tip: Keep moving! Back care practitioners have a hokey saying: “Motion is lotion”. Remaining sedentary is bad for your back, but simply walking for 30 minutes a day or more at a relaxed pace is great for you. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, just avoid sitting all day.
When you walk, consciously pull yourself up straight, pull in your abdominals, and enjoy the benefits of fresh air and healing sunshine. Thrust your chest out to straighten your back (a treadmill is good when the weather is unfriendly.)

If you find it hard to self-motivate, join a class at a gym or the YMCA. Group support helps a lot!

If you sit at a desk for work, get up and stretch every 20-30 minutes, just to keep loose. Sit up straight and make sure that your chair is properly adjusted, and your workspace is comfortable. Avoid eating at your desk if at all possible. Use your lunch or break time to move around. Remember that sitting in your car can also cause your back muscles to stiffen and hurt, so if you must drive long distances, make stops every hour and get out and stretch. Be sure to pull your stomach muscles in all the time, if possible. This supports your back!

These two key strategies of continuing your physical therapy on a maintenance basis, and avoiding extended sedentary behavior, are great proactive ways to keep pain away. The next component is preventive—do not do anything to re-injure your back.

If you recall the early days following your injury, you know that sometimes even lifting a coffee mug could be a painful experience. Change lifting from a potentially damaging movement to one that is safe and pain-free. The National Institute of Health advises:

  • Spread your feet apart to give your body a wide base of support.
  • Stand as close as possible to the object you are lifting.
  • Bend at your knees, not at your waist.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the object up or lower it down.
  • Hold the object as close to your body as you can.
  • Lift slowly, using the muscles in your hips and knees.
  • As you stand up with the object, DO NOT bend forward.
  • DO NOT twist your back while you bend to reach the object, lift the object up, or carry the object.
  • Squat as you set the object down, using the muscles in your knees and hips.

Getting back to work is a challenge, but with the right attorney and the right tools for recovery, just a few tweaks to keep back pain at bay will let you get your life back.

Because we care!

Jay Stillman
Personal Injury Lawyer
Stillman & Friedland

* This blog entry should not be construed as medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Only a licensed medical professional can properly diagnose and treat medical conditions. If you have any question regarding your health, please consult with your healthcare provider.