Guest Blogger Post: Back Pain & Chronic Illness: How to Cope

Please welcome guest blogger, Paul Jaggard, to Fighting Fatigue.  You can read Paul’s bio at the end of the post.

One of the unexpected side effects of a chronic illness can be back pain. When you have to take to your bed for long periods at a time, your muscles weaken and your back may not be strong enough to support your body.

So how can you cope with back pain when you are chronically ill? There are a number of coping mechanisms that may help you to get by and to cope with your back pain:

1. Stretch from Your Bed

If you are suffering from CFS or are undergoing treatment for cancer, the thought of exercise may fill you with dread or even be physically impossible. But you don’t need to do anything strenuous to feel the benefit. There are stretches and exercises that you can do in bed to help you to stay strong.

Simply sucking your belly button down to your spine and holding it for a count of 10, a few times a day will strengthen your core muscles. Try sitting up and gently rolling your shoulders back 10 times in a row. You don’t need to push yourself to feel the benefit.

Note: It is always best to consult a physiotherapist or doctor before undertaking any exercise. They will be able to offer you specific advice on the types of stretches that will help you to stay fit and healthy.

2. Get Out in the Fresh Air

If you do feel able to get out and about, seize the opportunity. Go outside and walk in the fresh air. Don’t push yourself to walk fast, a long way or for a long time, just enjoy stretching your legs.

The gentle exercise will help to strengthen your muscles, and the fresh air and natural sunlight will have a positive impact on your mood.

3. Sit up Straight

Another important way to keep your back healthy is to sit up straight, whenever you can manage.

Remember that you should keep your tummy and bum tucked in, your shoulders back and your chin slightly down. It may help to imagine an invisible piece of string pulling you up from your spine.

You can also use you chair to help improve your posture. Pick one that will let you sit with your feet flat on the floor, so that your knees level with your hips and use cushions to support your lower back.

4. Turn up the Heat

Don’t literally turn on your heating, but if you are experiencing sharp pain, apply heat to the sore area to soothe the pain. Use a hot water bottle or run a hot bath and relax until the pain eases.

5. Stay Positive and Keep Calm

A positive attitude may go some way to helping you cope with your pain. If you feel despondent or stressed, your body may tense up in response, which will worsen your back pain.

Find ways that help you to stay calm and feel positive funny movies, spending time with friends or massage may all help you to stay strong.

Back pain is one of the many trials that face the chronically ill. But just remember it’s important to stay mobile in whatever small way you can to help you to strong.

Paul Jaggard is the owner of Get Back Supplies, a UK supplier of chairs and mattresses for bad backs, to help people to cope with back pain.

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  1. So hard to fight back pain when you are fighting fatigue. Stretching is great advice and so is getting out in the fresh air!! love that! Karena

  2. Thanks Karena! It’s important to just take little steps – and getting outside will make you feel better in so many ways that if you can, you should!

  3. Very interesting. Most people in this generation even kids are having back pain and they try to spent most of their money to eliminate the pain their experiencing, so I wrote a book about back pain care entitled “This is Why Your Back Hurts”, eliminate your back pain without Drugs, Doctors or Surgery in just 6 Weeks! You may want to check it out. This would probably helps. Thank you

  4. What if one tries soooo hard to do all that… and is STILL in horrendous pain?

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