I hurt my low back while lifting a heavy piece of lumber. Now I have extreme pain on one side. The doctor gave me a pamphlet with information about keeping active and exercising. All I want to do is lay on the couch and never move again. How do I follow my doctor's advice to keep moving when it hurts so much?

In the first few days after an injury, pain can be a definite roadblock to movement and activity. Using ice during this period can really help. Something as simple as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a paper towel and placed over the painful area can give you relief. While the area is numb from the cold, you can begin to move with less pain. Repeat this every four hours during the first two days.

Anti-inflammatories can also be very helpful during the initial acute phase. These are available over the counter and should be taken as directed. If you are unsure which one is best, ask the pharmacist to help you.

Finally, rest is okay but in small doses. Rest for 20 minutes, then get up and walk or move around. Gradually increase the time of movement between rest periods. If you are not seeing any improvement after three days, it may be time to check in with your doctor again.