Instructions for an Acute Lower Back Injury

  • Apply ice while lying on your side, with your knees slightly bent. 
  • Put a pillow between your knees to keep your pelvis level.
  • Use ice for 10­-15 minutes per hour, as many hours as you can for the first few days after the onset of pain. 
    • Do not​ leave the ice on for longer than 20 minutes at a time. 
    • Do not ​put the ice pack directly against your skin. There must be at least a paper towel barrier (unless the pack has its own cover). 
  • No​lifting anything heavier than five pounds. 
  • Do not​reach overhead. 
  • Sit as little as possible. Try to alternate between lying down on your side, with a pillow between your legs, and walking. 
    • If you are more comfortable lying on your back do so with a small pillow behind your knees to keep them bent slightly. 
    • Do not ​lie on your stomach. 
  • If you must sit, do not​ sit on the couch or a very soft chair. Chairs do not have to be hard, just firm (like a desk chair). 
  • Stay out of the car unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Use warm showers only to clean yourself, do​ not let the hot water beat on your back.
  • Following treatment, no matter how much better it feels, pretend you are still in pain. 
    • Avoid activities which you are told not to do as much as possible