Disclaimer: This post is not a substitute for a chiropractor, physical therapist or other competent professional. If any of the advice causes increased pain, stop immediately.
Here’s a guide to managing this situation with care and minimal discomfort.
Understand the Mechanics
Low back pain can limit your range of motion, making it hard to reach areas that were once simple to access. Understanding which movements exacerbate your pain is key. It seems simple and obvious but for many in this situation, it’s not. Some examples of movements that might be causing your pain are twisting, bending forward, bending backwards, and tightening your abdominal muscles.
Try these out on the toilet during a time you don’t have to go to the bathroom. No need to add stakes or a time crunch to the ordeal. If anything hurts or makes it worse, stop.
- Try tightening your abdominal muscles before doing any movement including sitting, standing, bending, and twisting.
- Try separating the complex movements. For example, first twist and then extend
- Slow down the movement to really isolate the exact part of the motion that hurts – this might help you find a way around the offending movement
- Try using the opposite hand (it sounds obvious but, for many, it’s not)
Use the Right Tools
One helpful tool is a bathroom aid designed for individuals with limited mobility. These long-handled devices can hold toilet paper or wet wipes and are specifically made to help you reach without straining.There are tons out there ranging from inexpensive to very expensive. Here’s an example!
Here’s another great tool if you have some mobility but are just falling short of the reach you need:
The portable bidet. Check out an example of one that folds up small but doesn’t have as much reach HERE!
Others will have more reach
The Technique with using a tool/ aid
- Gently lean forward from your hips rather than twisting your spine. Keep your back as straight as possible.
- If you’re using a wiping aid, attach the toilet paper or wet wipe before you begin.
- Reach from the Front: Instead of reaching around your back, try reaching between your legs from the front. This can minimize the need to twist your spine.
- Be Gentle: Use a gentle dabbing or patting motion instead of wiping. This can be less irritating to the skin and requires less movement from your back.
After wiping, if you find it difficult to stand up from the toilet, consider installing a grab bar or using a raised toilet seat. This can take some of the strain off your back as you stand up. If you are unable to do that,
- Scoot as forward as possible
- Plant feet hip width apart
- Lean as forward as possible without worsening your pain
- Tighten your abdominal muscles
- Stand up keeping your abs tight and imagine you are pushing the floor away with your feet.
To conclude, managing low back pain while maintaining personal hygiene requires a blend of understanding, technique, and the right tools. Always remember to listen to your body and stop immediately if you experience increased pain. Incorporating these tips into your routine can significantly alleviate the discomfort associated with this seemingly mundane but crucial activity. Your resilience and adaptability in the face of such challenges are commendable. By taking these small yet impactful steps, you are not just caring for your present self but also investing in a more comfortable and manageable future.