Lower back pain is a serious problem and it is actually one of the leading causes of disability in the United States and around the world. There are many reasons why you may experience lower back pain such as lifting things that are too heavy, arthritis, nerve problems etc. There are many treatments available for those suffering from back pain and the treatment you choose will depend on the severity of your pain, how long you've had the pain for, other options you've explored etc. So, in this article, we will look at a couple of both natural and medical options that you can explore.
First of all, if you've just started getting lower back pain, then you may want to hold off on going to the doctor or seeking more extreme methods of dealing with that pain. The majority of back pain can resolve itself within a few weeks to a month. So, one of your best options may be to just wait it out. However, you will need some coping mechanisms while you wait it out, which we will look at.
Use Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
While you're giving your back pain time to go away on its own, you may need some help with pain management. Therefore, you can look at a few NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aleve, Ibuprofin, Motril etc. It has been found that these medicines are much better for back pain relief than pain killers such as Tylenol. However, you should not take the above recommended pain killers for more than ten days since they can cause gastrointestinal problems.
Use Ice & Heat
Once the back pain starts, you should get an ice pack or a simple pack of frozen peas and apply it to the affected region. You should use the ice pack for 20 minutes per session and there should be multiple sessions per day for the next two days. After those two days, you should get a heated pad and apply that to your back for 20 minutes per session with many sessions per day. The entire point of treating your back with both hot and cold ice packs is that the cold pack will reduce blood flow in the area which will reduce any swelling. It will also reduce your nerve's abilities to convey pain which will reduce how much pain you actually feel. The heat on the third day will help to reduce tight muscles and improve circulation.
Get More Supportive Shoes
Do you know that your shoes may be the source of your back pain? You may not be surprised to learn that women's shoes in particular don't offer much support. Some women in particular suffer from pronation and that's when their feet roll inward when walking. This can be corrected by wearing more supportive shoes.
Get A New Mattress
The lifespan of a mattress is typically 10 years, however, you may need to change your mattress after 5 or 6 years if there is a lot of sagging. A bad mattress can be causing your back pain and if you have an old mattress, then it's not doing your back any favors. It may be better to invest in a medium to firm mattress as oppose to a firm mattress since the firm mattress may have a negative effect on your back.
Do Gentle Exercises And Stretches
You can prevent any muscle imbalances by getting up and stretching every few hours. By standing up every so often, you can help to prevent any muscle imbalances as well as stabilize your spine. Yoga is a great option to for lower back injury exercises. Your back muscles and there are many studies that show it is great for treating and preventing back pain.
Medications For Back Pain
In the event that your back pain hasn't eased up after a month, then you definitely need to seek medical help from a doctor. The doctor will examine your back as well as ask you a variety of questions to determine the severity of the problem and your pain. You will be asked to sit, stand, walk, bend and other activities so that the doctor can determine how much of your mobility is compromised by your back pain. They will most likely ask you to rate how much pain you feel on a scale of one to ten. They are also likely to send you to get an X-ray or an MRI in order to determine the cause of your pain.
Once your doctor has completed the examination, then they may ask you to try one of a few therapies. These include either taking muscle relaxants, topical pain medications or cortisone shots. If your doctor prescribes a muscle relaxant, this will help by easing any muscle spasms you may be having. However, you should note that by taking a muscle relaxant, you will feel drowsy or dizzy.
Another option that the doctor may prescribe is a topical medication. These are basically creams or ointments for you to rub on your lower back or whatever area that is hurting.
In the event that the above two treatments don't work, then your doctor may give you cortisone shots. This is the injection of a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, cortisone. It should be noted that relief using one of these shots may only last a few months and you can risk the thinning of your bones in the area where the shot is given.
Acupuncture & Massage
An alternative way to treat your lower back pain is to use acupuncture to treat it. Acupuncture may provide significantly more relief than pain killers according to a variety of studies. The needles actually help by reducing inflammation in your joints as well as change the way in which your nerves react to pain.
Massage is another option that you can explore and in particular, chiropractic or osteopathic therapy. These types of massages help to stretch and reposition the joints and muscles which can reduce pain.
In closing, we have just looked at a couple of treatment options that are available to you if you suffer from lower back pain. Be sure to look at all your options to find the best treatment to get rid of the pain while eliminating the source of the pain as well.