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What if I just threw my back out?

Dorothy Polahar, DO, is a member of Inova Steinmetz Integrative and Functional Medicine Center board certified in family medicine. She has a special interest in functional and integrative medicine, including acupuncture. Read Dr. Polahar’s profile.

“I just bent over to pick up a piece of paper, and now I can barely move. My back is killing me. What should I do?”

I recommend Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT) as soon as you can, but until you can be seen here are a few recommendations.

Start by sitting in a chair at a table. Slowly lean forward and put your head down on the table (remember putting you head down on your desk at school? Same position). The farther your chair is from the table (and the lower the table) the more of a stretch you will get in your back muscles. Try lying on your back in bed and curling both legs to your chest. Hug your legs in and feel the gentle stretch in your lower back. When you place your feet back on the bed (still on your back with your knees bent) slowly allow your knees to gently fall to one side and relax in that position for about 30 seconds, and then allow them to fall to the other side for the same amount of time.

If you hurt your back yesterday or several days ago, and it is still bothering you, do this bed exercise before you get out of bed.

When you go to get out of bed, roll onto your side (facing the way you are going to get out of bed). Once on your side, allow your legs to slide off the bed (towards the floor) as you use your arms to push your body upright. Now you should be sitting on the edge of your bed and ready to stand.

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