Ice is an anti-inflammatory treatment if used properly. Always wrap an ice pack in a towel to protect your skin from a freezer burn. It is important not to feel frozen while using the ice, so put on extra warm clothes. For acute episodes of lowback pain, use the ice for 10-20 minutes at a time, repeat in intervals during the day. Ice on the neck can be used 5-10 minutes at a time.
Advice for acute low back pain
Use a cold pack wrapped in a kitchen towel over the low back. It should cover the spine and be placed to cover the area of the low back where your thumbs rest when you put your hands on the brim of your pelvis (imagine your mother standing angrily in the door in the early morning hours, hands on hips waiting for you, she has her hands on the pelvic brim)
Use the ice for 15-20 minutes, repeat 5-6 times a day. Take this time to lie down and rest your back. A pillow under the knees, or having knees bent with feet resting on floor is often an optimal position. When lying on side, use a pillow between the knees and ankles. When turning in bed, avoid twisting at the waist.
Avoid sitting at this point. Do not sit in a couch. Do not to bend or twist the mid-section of the body. Try to tighten the stomach muscles gently and concentrate on using good posture in everything you do. Do not force your body into a position if it is uncomfortable. Sometimes a crooked body posture is protective, but it means that the body wants to lie down.
At work, it is usually best to try to stand while working. The computer screen should be about at eye level so you are not tipping your head down. When standing, it can be appropriate to put a knee on your chair, or put a foot on a stool, or to stand with your legs farther apart. If you find yourself leaning on one arm, sit or lie down.
When sitting, try to arrange the chair so you can sit as high as possible creating a downward angle from the hip to the knee. When rising from the chair, place your feet under your hips and keep your shoulders over your hips while you straighten up (do not bend the back while
rising from the chair).
To avoid excessive strain on the low back when it is acute, lie down periodically during the day for 15 minutes at a time.
Advice for acute neck pain
Cold treatment over the neck is appropriate for 5-7 minutes at a time, repeat several times a day. Lay down periodically to rest the neck.
The weight of the head can be a strain on the neck, so be careful to hold the head over the neck and avoid looking down (phone, ipad, computer, crossword, book, etc.). You may need to adjust the height of the computer screen so you can look straight ahead. Look over how you use your body at home and at work (school), so you can optimize ergonomics.