Back pain is a common and bothersome problem for many people. It can range from mild to severe and can be the result of an underlying condition such as arthritis or a slipped disc, or it may be caused by an injury or improper posture.
In order to properly treat back pain, it’s important to understand the causes and risk factors, so you can take the necessary steps to reduce discomfort and keep your spine healthy.
Let’s take a closer look at the common causes of back pain.
Identify the source of your back pain
Back pain can result from many types of injuries or conditions, including muscle strain, osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis, and degenerative disc disease. It is important to identify the source of the pain in order to determine the best treatment plan.
Back pain can be debilitating, but there are self-care measures you can take to help relieve the pain. Stretching and exercise can help to improve and maintain mobility. Additionally, proper posture and body mechanics can help prevent and reduce back pain.
Exercising on a regular basis is an important part of any long-term strategy to reduce or prevent back pain. Not only does exercise help reduce pain levels, but increased fitness also helps improve core strength and flexibility, which can help prevent or alleviate future episodes of back pain.
Practice good posture
Maintaining proper posture when standing, sitting, or lying down will reduce pressure on your spine and help keep it in a position that’s safe and healthy. Don’t hunch over when sitting, stand up straight and make sure that your chair is at a height where your elbows are bent and shoulders are relaxed.
When you’re sleeping, make sure to use a mattress that offers adequate support while lying on your back or side. It may be helpful to use pillows between the knees when lying on one side, or between the legs while lying on your back.
Use heat or ice therapy
Heat and ice therapy can be used to relieve pain from back strain or other causes of back pain.
The heat helps to relax muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce pain and stiffness in the muscles. Examples of heating methods for back pain include warm baths, hot packs, a heating pad, or an electric blanket.
Ice therapy is often used for injuries that are inflammation-related such as muscle strains or sprains. Cold treatments help to reduce inflammation, numb pain receptors and slow down nerve impulses—temporarily reducing the feeling of pain. Ice packs can be safely left on the affected area for 20 minutes every few hours.
Medical treatments can be an effective way to get relief from back pain. Depending on the type and severity of your pain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, medication, injections, or surgery to help you manage and keep your pain under control. In this section, we will look at some of the different medical treatments that may be recommended for back pain.
Over-the-counter pain medication
When it comes to finding relief from back pain, the first step for many people is taking over-the-counter medications. These medications range from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly known as NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin to acetaminophen and narcotic painkillers.
The type of medication you should take will depend on your particular needs, so it is important to consult with a doctor or medical professional before taking any medication. Your doctor may prescribe a specific dose and type of medication depending on the severity of your pain.
Prescription pain medications
Prescription pain medications are an option for reducing back pain in the short term. These medications can be used to address acute and chronic back pain and may include opioids, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and various other medications which can help alleviate your symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor or health care provider before using prescription medications as they can have serious side effects, particularly if they are not taken correctly.
Physical therapy is a common treatment for back pain, as it can target and treat the underlying cause. It usually includes stretching, strengthening, and range-of-motion exercises tailored to your individual needs. Through physical therapy, you learn to understand your body better and become aware of how each movement can affect your back.
Exercises are generally divided into three categories:
1) Flexibility exercises: These involve stretching the muscles that support your back so that it is more flexible and limber.
2) Strengthening exercises: These focus on stabilizing the muscles around your spine so that they can better support your movements.
3) Range-of-motion exercises: Designed to help increase the range of motion in your lower back–for example, by helping you sit and stand up straighter or move with greater comfort when twisting or reaching.
Living with back pain can be difficult and finding ways to alleviate the pain can be daunting at times. Fortunately, there are multiple treatments for back pain that can help provide relief. In this article, we will discuss the different alternative treatments for back pain and how they can help. Keep reading to learn more.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for centuries. The technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. It is believed to restore balance within the body and also promote the natural flow of energy through your body.
Massage therapy can help to reduce muscle stiffness and tension, improve circulation and bring relief to aching muscles. It’s one of the most well-known back pain treatments and several different kinds are available. A deep tissue massage is a popular option, as it works well on the back muscles by applying firm pressure to treat muscle pain and stiffness while also loosening tight knots.
Chiropractic care is a popular alternative treatment for seeking back pain relief. It works on the assumption that misalignments of your spine can affect your body’s overall functioning impacting various areas, including the nervous system.
When to seek medical help
Back pain can range from mild to severe and can be caused by a number of issues. While there are many home remedies and lifestyle modifications that can help alleviate back pain, there are times when medical help may be necessary. In this article, we will discuss when you should seek medical help for back pain and how to find relief.
If your back pain is severe, accompanied by fever, chills, or urinary problems, or if it persists for more than a few days despite rest and home treatment, contact a doctor immediately. In such situations, minor changes in any underlying issues can quickly progress to serious health problems.
Whatever you decide to try, make sure you make informed decisions based on best practices and always work in conjunction with a medical professional.
Your back is such an integral part of your body that making a poor and uninformed decision that causes you further pain or injury would be devastating for you.
Though certain aspects of your back pain may be with you for life there are so many effective treatments available nowadays that there is likely to be something you can do to better manage your pain if not eliminate it entirely.