Is housework bad for you? Ask Lorna what she thinks. You'll get a lesson in how to tackle those chores—and how not to.
"I never had back problems, and then one Saturday I bent over to scoop out the cat box," she recalls. "When I tried to straighten up, I could hardly do it."
Lorna didn't have a severe episode. She counts herself lucky.
"Some people can hardly move, but I could stand and sit, although it hurt," she says. "It felt a lot better to lie on the floor. But I still could do things with friends and around the house."
She also found help close to home—at home, in fact.
Getting right on it
"My husband has back pain and knows what to do. I put a warm heating pad on it right away, took some ibuprofen, and slept that night on my side with a pillow between my legs."
Lorna got active the next day, taking short walks as recommended. Although her back still hurt, she went to work on Monday as usual. And to Lorna's surprise, her back hurt all week.
"I thought, 'Okay, it will hurt for a day or two, and that's it,'" she says. "But it lasted a lot longer. It took about 3 weeks. I guess we're used to fast cures. We take an aspirin, and the headache goes away. We take the antibiotic, and the infection disappears."
But Lorna stayed patient, and the pain and stiffness left. Things are now back to normal—almost.
Lorna now thinks about how she moves. She no longer bends at the waist to empty the cat litter. She no longer bends. She now squats, bending at the knees to pick things up.
"It's really something how a small movement can end up in back pain. But it's also amazing how posture and watching how you move can prevent back pain."
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with low back pain.
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Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine