Pain is a warning sign, so listen to your body. If an activity or position hurts, stop or change it. Your body will do what it can to suppress pain – if this means walking with a limp or twisting your back, you will do it subconsciously. Intermittent pain usually means there is an underlying problem, which your body is trying to adapt to. It is wiser to try to find out what the problem is rather than treating the symptoms of pain with painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Consult your chiropractor before the situation worsens.
A bout of severe pain is accompanied by inflammation and usually protective muscle spasm. Treat the inflammation first and use ice – heat will aggravate the inflammation and can worsen the situation. Use a cold pack (a packet of frozen peas will work just as well), wrap a dishtowel round it and apply it to the painful area for 10-15 minutes. You can do this several times, waiting 1 hour between applications, until the pain dissipates. If you have poor circulation, consult your doctor first. Movement will also help to disperse the inflammation, and stop your body from seizing up. When resting, find your most comfortable position, using supports where necessary. Placing pillows under bent knees while lying on your back, or side-lying with your top leg bent on a pillow will often help reduce back pain. A rolled up towel under your neck may help relieve neck pain.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatories may be helpful in this situation, but may have side-effects and merely mask your symptoms. Use medication carefully, and consult your chiropractor as soon as possible to prevent recurrences.