5 Things to Try when You Experience Occasional Back Pain
The majority of us will experience some form of back pain in our lives, whether it is short-term, or long-term. According to Dr. Jeff Echols, a doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, 80-90% of us will experience debilitating back pain at some point in our lifetime. Knowing you are not alone will not relieve the pain, but it might give you a sense of relief to know that there is help out there due to the extreme number of people needing it.
There are various degrees of pain, as well as various reasons for it. If you have just recently experienced some form of accident, then I suggest seeking medical treatment right away, to rule out anything that might cause further damage for lack of treatment.
Having said that, there are many of us who have had the pain creep up on us, for whatever the reason may be. Perhaps it’s how we are sleeping, sitting, or quite possibly some medical reason such as referring pain from a body organ in distress, or deteriorating structure. If the pain is persistent, or gets worse, seek medical advice, especially before doing any radical treatment.
However, I am not going to discuss any radical treatments. What I am going to share with you are treatments that you could use to ease the pain, even if you decide to seek professional help.
[box type="important"]Symptoms that indicate that you NEED to seek URGENT medical care include: muscle weakness, sensory loss or numbness, loss of bladder or bowel control, saddle anaesthesia, severe pain, and pain radiating down your leg) among others. [/box]
1. Rest It
Easier said than done, I know. Most of us have a busy life, between jobs and family, and there is little time to get normal rest, let alone extra rest. However, if you think about it in terms of a little extra rest now, before you HAVE to rest more later…you just might be able to squeeze a little in somehow.
Take a few breaks throughout the day to lie down and stretch your back out, as well as take the weight off the spine and muscles. I don’t mean complete bed rest…as tempting as that might sound some days, but just a 15 minute break, about 4-6 times throughout the day.
If you are at the office, ask your boss if you could have a couple extra short breaks, and explain it’s because you don’t want to go home. Granted, unless you work at a mattress retailer, there won’t be a bed to use, but there is nothing wrong with the floor. If it’s filthy, spread your coat on the floor…and then tell your boss that the cleaning duties need some attention.
After the break, do some slow stretches before jumping right back into your routine.
2. Massage Treatment
Twist my arm, really…make me get a massage. Because if I hurt my arm, that might give me 2 reasons to see a massage therapist. All kidding aside, a good therapeutic massage can help with back pain. In fact, I believe it can help far more than medicines can, for one reason. A medically based massage can actually treat the problem, rather than coat the symptoms.
They can help with circulation, flexibility, and even strengthening the muscles that help hold your spine in alignment.
If you don’t know of a therapist to go to, ask your doctor, including your Chiropractor if you see one. Chances are they might have one in their office.
3. Medicate It
I hesitate to bring medications up, because there is an epidemic of prescription pain medicine abuse. However, there are over-the-counter medicines that will help with inflammation, and can dramatically improve nagging back pain.
If you have seen a physician, they might recommend something such as a muscle relaxer, or ant iinflammatory pain medicine (NSAIDS). Just be careful with these and follow your doctor’s instructions on taking them. I have a lot of lower back pain and realize there is a need for it at times, but I limit it to the days when I can’t literally stand it any longer.
4. Hot or Cold Therapy
Cold therapy is often used right after an injury, because it helps to reduce inflammation and ease the spasm and pain. Cold therapy can include:
- Prepackaged Cold Packs
- Ice Wrapped in a Towel
- Cool Water Bath
Heat can be applied to help with muscle tension, and diminish spasms and increase your range of motion. Heat therapy can include:
- Heating Pad
- Hot Stone Massage
- Hot Bath
Just make sure to wrap whatever tool you are using, whether it’s hot or cold, rather than applying it directly to your skin.
5. Seek Medical Advice
If your pain is not going away, or it’s recurrent, seek out the advice of your physician. Dr. Echols states that it could be pain that is referred from a troubled body organ, such as the prostate, or uterus. If that is the case, you will want to take care of the problem, to avoid further issues in days to come.
When the pain starts to disrupt your daily activities, or lay you right out for days, it’s time to get some answers. At this point, simple treatments mentioned above might not be enough. The good news is that there is a variety of non-invasive treatments available to get you some relief, such as Chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy.
There is no reason why many of us have to just live with back pain. With the exception of some extreme cases, there is relief available for short-term back issues so we can get back to our relatively normal life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Cameron is a freelance writer, currently working on a set of articles about back pain, with the assistance of Chiropractors, Phoenix based. She lives in Texas with her family.