Back pain can be debilitating and disruptive to life. Back pain can also limit your ability to move, sleep, and even think. There are many causes of back pain, but keep in mind that the degree of pain does not always correlate positively with its seriousness. In other words, minor issues (such as irritated nerves) can sometimes produce severe pain in the short term, while serious health issues (such as tumors) can sometimes cause little pain. Try some common home remedies and Watch for signs and symptoms that require you to see a doctor.
Part 1 of 3: Coping With Your Own Pain
Step 1. Just wait
The spine is a complex collection of joints, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and connective tissue. There are many structures that can cause pain if you move your back incorrectly or experience certain trauma. Some types of back pain can appear suddenly, but they also go away quickly (without any treatment) because the human body has a great ability to heal itself. Therefore, be patient for a few hours if you experience back pain. Avoid all strenuous activities and maintain a positive attitude.
- Signs and symptoms that require you to seek medical attention immediately include: muscle weakness and/or loss of feeling in the arms/legs, inability to control bowel or urinary organs, high fever, sudden weight loss.
- Complete bed rest is not a good idea for most types of back pain, as sometimes you need to move around a bit (even if it's just slow and relaxed) to stimulate blood circulation and help it heal. If you are in extreme pain, wait two to three days before resuming normal activities.
- If your back pain is due to exercise, it means you may be working too hard or doing it with poor posture - consult a personal trainer.
- If your back pain is work-related, talk to your boss about changing activities or adjusting your workplace - for example, buying a more supportive chair or a soft mattress to support your legs.
Step 2. Use something cool to stick to your back
Ice is an effective treatment for all musculoskeletal injuries (which occurred in the last 24-48 hours), including back pain. Cold therapy should be applied to the most painful areas of the back, to reduce inflammation and pain. Apply ice for 10-15 minutes every hour, then reduce the frequency when the pain and swelling in your back has subsided.
- Applying ice to your back with a flexible bandage or a rubber bandage will also help control the inflammation.
- Always wrap ice or frozen gel packs in a thin towel to prevent frostbite of the skin.
- If you don't have ice or gel packs, use frozen vegetables from the freezer.
- Ice is not suitable for chronic back pain - something hot and humid may be more effective.
Step 3. Take a warm bath
Soak your back in warm water with Epsom salts to significantly reduce pain and swelling, especially if the pain is due to a spasm or muscle injury. The magnesium content in salt helps relax the muscles. Soaking in warm water or applying heat directly to your back is not a good idea if you have severe inflammation, which usually results from injury to the nerves, ligaments, and joints in your back.
- The water should not be too hot (so as not to burn the skin). Do not soak for more than 30 minutes because salt water will suck fluids from the body so that you can become dehydrated.
- Alternatively, use a moist heat source to relieve back pain - such as a microwave-heated herbal bag, to which aromatherapy (such as lavender) is often added to relax the body.
Step 4. Consider taking over-the-counter medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin can be a short-term solution to help you manage back pain or inflammation. Be aware that these drugs can have adverse effects on the stomach, kidneys, and liver, so it is best not to take them for more than 2 weeks at each dose.
- Alternatively, try over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or muscle relaxants (such as cyclobenzaprine) to relieve back pain. However, never take these two drugs together with NSAIDs.
- Pain-relieving creams and gels can be applied directly to your back, especially if the pain is more related to a muscle problem. Capsaicin and menthol are natural ingredients in some creams that treat pain by turning the brain's attention to the pulsating sensation in the skin.
Step 5. Use a foam roller
Moving your body on firm foam is a good way to massage the spine and relieve mild to moderate discomfort, especially in the mid-thoracic region. Foam rollers are often used in physiotherapy, yoga, and pilates.
- Choose foam rollers sold at retail or sports equipment stores - they are very cheap and last a long time.
- Place the foam roller on the floor perpendicular to your lying body. Lie on your back so that the roller is between your shoulders. Begin to move your body up and down. Repeat as needed, although your muscles may hurt a little after using the foam roller for the first time.
Step 6. Use a tennis or lacrosse ball
Lie on your back and place the ball between your shoulder blades. Move your body until you find a soft spot. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds, or after your pain has subsided. Move to another soft spot.
Repeat daily until your pain subsides. This can be used as a preventative measure, as these points, commonly known as muscle clumps, tend to reappear if you have bad posture or you use them too often
Step 7. Do back exercises
While back pain can keep you from moving or exercising, stretching and strengthening your body can help reduce it. Before starting to exercise, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the right type of exercise for your specific condition.
Exercises such as squats, planks, or simple gentle stretches can help reduce back pain. Look for more ideas from articles related to treating lower and upper back pain
Step 8. Consider changing the sleeping environment
Mattresses that are too soft or pillows that are too thick can contribute to back pain. Avoid sleeping on your stomach because the head and neck can be twisted, making back pain worse and lower back joints can be stressed and irritated. The best sleeping positions for back pain are lying on your side (similar to the classic fetal position) or on your back with a pillow supporting your calves. In this way, the pressure on the joints of the lower back is reduced.
- While a waterbed is useful for some people, most people seem to find it easier to use a firm orthopedic mattress.
- Spring mattresses usually last for 8 to 10 years with regular use, depending on the weight of you and your partner.
Step 9. Make sure you use the correct lifting technique
Severe back pain is usually caused by an improper lifting posture. When you need to lift something, make sure it's not too heavy to carry alone (and ask for help if you can't). Hold the weight close to the body. Move your whole body instead of twisting or stretching your waist.
There are different opinions about the best way to lift heavy weights, but if you want to lift without putting too much strain on your back, squat. Bend your hips and knees but keep your back straight. Lift the object from this position. This way, you can lift it with calf power, opening your back
Part 2 of 3: Seeking Alternative Treatments
Step 1. Schedule an appointment with a chiropractor or osteopath
Both of these specialists are spine specialists who focus on restoring normal movement and function of the joints that connect them. These joints are called facet joints. Manual joint manipulation, or adjustment, can be used to open up barriers or reposition facet joints that are slightly off track and cause severe inflammation and pain, especially when moving the body.
- While an adjustment session can sometimes be completely pain relief, you will usually need 3-5 treatments to get any significant results. Your health insurance provider may also not reimburse you for chiropractic therapy.
- Chiropractors and osteopaths also use a variety of therapies specifically designed to treat muscle problems. These therapies may be more suitable for your back problems.
- Traction techniques or stretching the spine with an inversion table can also help relieve back pain. Some chiropractors have an inversion table. This table can turn the body in an easy and controlled way, and, with the help of gravity, the pressure on the spine will be reduced. Consider purchasing an inversion table for home use.
Step 2. Find a professional massage therapist
A pulled muscle occurs when its fibers tear, causing pain, inflammation, and problems with muscle locking (or muscle spasm to prevent further damage). Deep tissue massage is useful for mild to moderate tension because it can reduce muscle spasms, combat inflammation, and induce relaxation. Start with a 30-minute massage. Focus on the entire spine and hips. Let the therapist massage as hard as you can for as long as you can tolerate it.
Always drink plenty of water immediately after a massage session. Water is useful for removing the remnants of inflammation products and lactic acid from the body. If you don't, you may feel dizzy or nauseous
Step 3. Try acupuncture treatments
Acupuncture inserts very thin needles into energy points on the skin/muscle to reduce pain and inflammation. Acupuncture can be effective for back pain, especially if it's done as soon as symptoms appear. Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by releasing various fluids, including endorphins and serotonin, which are useful for reducing pain.
- There has been mixed reactions to the scientific evidence about the use of acupuncture for chronic back pain, but there are also many personal reports that people find it really useful.
- Acupuncture points that may relieve back pain are not always located near the pain - some may be in distant areas of the body.
- Acupuncture is run by a variety of medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, physical therapists, and massage therapists - whoever you choose must be certified.
- "Dry needling" is another type of therapy that uses acupuncture needles, but without traditional Chinese medicine techniques. This method can be useful for relieving pain.
Step 4. Consider relaxation or "mind-body" techniques
Stress-reducing practices such as meditation, tai chi, and breathing exercises have been shown to help reduce musculoskeletal pain and prevent injury in many people. Yoga is also good for relaxation and involves practicing specific postures or poses, in addition to helping with breathing.
- Yoga poses can stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture, although you may have to modify some of the poses if they make your back pain worse.
- Try centering meditation. Meditation like this is a form of pain management that can be done anywhere at any time. One study showed that three 20-minute meditation sessions over three days not only reduced pain, but produced effects that lasted longer than the meditation time.
Part 3 of 3: Getting Medical Treatment
Step 1. See a family doctor
If routine home treatments and alternative therapies can't relieve pain, make an appointment with your family doctor to consider any serious spinal health problems, such as herniated disc, pinched nerves, infection (osteomyelitis), osteoporosis, fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer..
- X-rays, bone scans, MRI, and CT and spine studies are things your doctor may use to help diagnose your pain.
- Your doctor may also order blood tests to rule out rheumatoid arthritis or a spinal infection, such as meningitis.
- Your doctor can refer you to a medical specialist, such as an orthopedist, neurologist, or rheumatologist to better study the condition of your back.
Step 2. Ask for a physical therapy referral
If your back pain is recurring (chronic) and is caused by weak spinal muscles, poor posture or a degenerative condition such as osteoarthritis, consider some form of rehabilitation. A physical therapist can teach you several types of back stretching and strengthening exercises. Physiotherapy should usually be run 2-3 times a week, for 4-8 weeks to significantly reduce chronic back problems.
- If needed, the therapist can treat sore back muscles with electrotherapy, such as therapeutic ultrasound or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
- Strengthening exercises that are good for the back include swimming, rowing, and back stretching. However, first make sure that your pain is under control.
Step 3. Consider injection
Injections of steroid medication near or into the joints, muscles, tendons, or ligaments of the spine can immediately reduce inflammation and pain. In addition, your back can also move back to normal. Corticosteroids are hormones that exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties. The most commonly used forms are prednisolone, dexamethasone, and triamcinolone.
- Potential complications from corticosteroid injections include infection, bleeding, weakened tendons, localized muscle spasms, and nerve damage/irritation.
- If corticosteroid injections fail to produce sufficient solutions to relieve back pain, try surgery as a last resort.
- To maintain proper posture when standing, evenly distribute your weight on both feet and avoid locking your knees. Tighten your abs and glutes to keep your back straight. Wear supportive shoes if you will be standing for a long time; relieve muscle fatigue by resting one leg on a small stool.
- Stop smoking because smoking will interfere with blood flow, so the spinal muscles and other body tissues will be deprived of oxygen and nutrients.
- If you sit all day and believe your back pain is caused by this, consider buying a new chair.
- Stay in shape because back pain is more common in people who are in poor fitness.
- To maintain correct posture while sitting, choose a hard chair, especially one with armrests. Keep your upper back straight and your shoulders relaxed. A small pillow behind the lower back can be useful to maintain the natural curve of the spine. Keep your feet flat on the floor or use a small stool to prop them up if needed.