What to avoid with back pain.

I cannot share this post without first saying that back pain is not always simple to treat and manage.

Treatment of back pain is not one size fits all and each individual deserves a personalized assessment. This is meant to be a starting point and general guideline. None of these are absolutes and may not apply to everyone.


You woke up with back pain today. What should you avoid doing?


Google your symptoms.

We have all done it. Googled symptoms and asked how to treat them. You’ll find website after website with advice or claims that someone has the “fix” for back pain. Every person is going to respond differently to one type of treatment. There may be some solid advice out there but you would spend hours digging and researching.



This was once the standard of care for treating acute back pain. Patients were told to take some anti-inflammatories and stay in bed for a few days. Please don’t do this. The spine is designed to move and bedrest has been shown to actually prolong the healing process. You may not be able to go about your day as normal but small, controlled movement is usually much better than staying still.


Try tons of different stretches or core exercises.

Typically, back pain will respond to one or two types of treatment. When you try 10 different movements at once, it is very hard to determine what is helping or what is hurting. Treatment of back pain is comparable to running a science experiment. Think back to high school chemistry class. You can determine cause and effect better when there is only one variable changed at a time.


Get too many opinions.

This goes along with number 1 and 3. Because the spine is so complicated, it can be very confusing to hear too much advice. It may take a day or two to know if something is helping. Listen to your body and intuition.


Stop exercising.

It has already been mentioned that movement is generally good for back pain. If an exercise is causing consistent or worsening pain, stop doing it. You may be able to modify it and keep the pain at bay. It can be nerve wracking to get into the gym, especially if you injured it in the gym. Often, a workout routine that you have consistently been doing can still be continued with a few changes.

Let your pain linger for more than 2-3 days without seeking assistance from a physical therapist.

Back pain gets harder to treat the longer it lasts. Seeking help from a trained professional can get you back to feeling yourself sooner.

Have questions about your back pain and ready to seek help from a professional? We are here to help!

About the Author:


Dr. Chelsea Walter is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with an emphasis on treatment of spinal conditions. She graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014 with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and completed undergraduate work at the same institution. From 2018 to 2019, she was a post-graduate resident with the McKenzie Institute. There she achieved certification in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) and board certification in orthopaedics (OCS). Chelsea enjoys working with clients who are active in the gym or with recreational sports. She has led an active lifestyle from early on in life and enjoys hiking, travel, and spending time with family.