When To See A Doctor
Lower back pain, when standing or walking, is not always a cause for concern and may get better with home treatment, such as rest, OTC pain relievers, hot and cold therapy, and gentle stretching.
A person should see their doctor if the pain is severe, does not get better, or occurs along with other concerning or debilitating symptoms.
People with lower back pain should seek immediate medical attention if they experience loss of bowel or bladder control or leg movement becomes severely affected.
Some tips to help prevent lower back pain include:
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Where possible, try doing a mixture of low- and high-intensity physical activities exercises, such as bike riding, walking, aerobics classes, swimming, or using an elliptical machine.
- Practicing good posture when walking, such as by keeping the back straight and avoiding leaning too far forward or slumping.
- Making appropriate adjustments to workstations to improve ergonomics. Examples include placing the computer screen at eye level and using a supportive and properly-adjusted chair.
- Using proper lifting techniques, including holding an object as close as possible to the body, maintaining a wide stance, bending from the legs and not the back, and avoiding lifting objects that are too heavy.
- Eating a healthful, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Try It Before You Buy It When Looking At New Mattresses
Even if youve found what you think is the best mattress for lower back pain relief, you may want to spend on a few nights on it before swiping your credit card. This is especially true if youre making the switch to a significantly softer or harder mattress. If you can, ask to do a trial run on the new mattress. If thats not a possibility, EverydayHealth.com has a few recommendations. From their expert, Santhosh Thomas, DO:
He suggests spending a night in a hotel that offers options for guests to purchase pillows and mattresses so that you can try before you buy. Or, see if your mattress store lets you try out a bed overnight or even longer. If that is not an option, perhaps sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag may mimic a firm surface, and sleeping on a couch may mimic a softer surface.’
Tips For Managing Inflammatory Back Pain
These approaches wont cure your condition, but they may help you manage the discomfort and prevent additional injury.
Also see a doctor if the pain is constant, wakes you up at night, and includes leg pain or follows an injury.For less-serious back pain symptoms, the best way to keep them at bay is to stay active, Dreisinger says. The natural response to pain is to do less, but the opposite holds true with back pain symptoms, he says. Thats because exercise helps muscles relax and increases blood flow to the area.Heres expert advice on what might work and wont for your back pain symptoms.1. Dont just lie there.Its tempting to rest until pain subsides, but taking to bed for more than a day or two may make your back pain symptoms worse, according to the National Institutes of Health .
Also Check: Does Aleve Help Back Pain
S To Take Immediately After A Back Injury
1. Engage in an Active Activity
You need to continue to your regular activities, but you may have to limit some tasks that aggravate your lower back muscles and cause pain.
Resting can cause you back to heal even slower and prolong your back pain, so make sure you do some type of activity to speed the healing process.
Walking and moving is an easy activity for anyone, so you need to continue those activities to help improve your health, but lifting and contact sports may need to be put on hold.
If you are moving and have to carry large boxes you may have to count yourself out and get the help you need to finish that activity without causing you more pain or injuring yourself even more.
The same thing with contact sports, you need to step back and support your team from the sidelines until you back is feeling better so you don’t put yourself in even more pain.
2. Ice-Heat Treatment
The rotation of ice and heat is usually a treatment that will help most people, but going it in the right ways is important for you to get the results you want.
Only use ice for the first 72 hours of your back pain. After that time period, you need to add heat to the rotation for your lower back pain.
The combination of the ice and heat allows you to reduce inflammation and loosen muscles at the same time, returning you to full health.
How do carbs affect pain in your spine?
Dont worry too much back pain doesnt last too long for most injuries.
4. Call Your Doctor
Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
Recommended Reading: Is Aleve Good For Back Pain
How Anxiety Causes Back Pain: And How To Stop It
- Anxiety, especially chronic anxiety, commonly leads to back pain
- Muscle tension may be the primary cause, but there are other supplementary anxiety symptoms that could also cause back pain
- Simple lifestyle changes can reduce some of the back pain
- One simple change: posture, which can be affected by anxiety in several ways
- Eliminating back pain from anxiety, specifically, traditionally requires anxiety treatments
Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin
Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. “Chronic” means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and “no specific origin” means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.
Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.
Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.
Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Don’t Miss: Will Aleve Help Back Pain
The Best Sitting Posture To Prevent Low Back Pain
Heres how to get into the best sitting posture for your back:
1. Sit at the edge of your chair and slouch completely.
2. Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as much as you can, and hold there for 2 seconds.
3. Now, release the position slightly
4. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
You are now sitting in the best posture for your back.
You have to keep your hips and knees at a right angle . Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.
The problem is:
This takes time to get used to, and when we work we tend to forget about it and unknowingly slouch back to our usual posture.
Either use a good lumbar back support cushion or get a good ergonomic office chair to help you keep the right sitting posture for the entire workday.
What to do if sitting too much has already got your back pain going?
What Are Some Less Invasive Or Noninvasive Back Pain Treatments
Your doctor has a wide range of treatments that may help your lower back pain. In general, expect your doctor to take a stepped care approach. That means starting with simple, low-cost treatments and moving to more aggressive approaches later. Keep in mind that many treatments take time to reach their full effect.
Medications. When over-the-counter pills and topicals dont do enough to relieve back pain, your doctor may recommend a prescription drug. Examples include:
- Antiseizure medication, such gabapentin or pregabalin, for nerve-related pain
- Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen or carisoprodol
- Prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, diclofenac, or fenoprofen
- Opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, on a short-term basis.
Physical therapy . PT for lower back pain involves passive and active therapies to help the patient build core muscle strength, improve spinal flexibility and range of motion, correct posture and more. Your physical therapy sessions may include:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
Don’t Miss: Exercise For Lower Back Pain Mayo Clinic
What Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain Actually Work
Unless youve had a major injury, such as a fall or car accident, you probably dont need to rush to the doctor for back pain. You may want to try these simple self-care strategies first.
Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed actually experienced more pain and recovered more slowly than patients who stayed fairly active
Use ice and/or heat. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time helps reduce pain and swelling. Always wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin towel before putting it on your body so you dont injure your skin. You may also find that heat, such as a heating pad or warm bath, eases pain. Ice is recommended in the first 48 hours after injury then you can try a combo of ice and heat.
Try over-the-counter remedies. Short-term use of OTC pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, may ease your lower back pain. Also consider OTC creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin. They stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain.
Ice Heat And Medication Are Enough
I Usually Recover Well with this Method
This method is effective for the immediate treatment of an injury. It does not treat the causes. It merely returns you to a less severe state just before your episode. Causes are less obvious and more complicated to treat.
This method will not prevent it from happening again as it only treats injury and soreness. These are warning signs and not causes. Warning signs give us the opportunity to learn and investigate more into what may be the actual cause. This allows us the opportunity to seek proper treatment necessary for long-term recovery.
Also Check: Does Aleve Work For Back Pain
Don’t Rest An Achy Back
Doctors used to prescribe bed rest for back pain. But now we know that lying still is one of the worst things you can do. It can make back pain worse and lead to other complications. Don’t rest for more than a day or two. It’s important to get up and slowly start moving again. Exercise has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly. Try swimming, walking, or yoga.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica
Common symptoms that the sciatic nerve is being compressed include:
- Shooting pain from the back, through the buttock, and down the back of the leg on either side
- A tingling or pins and needles feeling in the toes and/or feet
- Numbness in the buttock or down the affected leg
- Difficulty walking
- Hip pain
- A burning sensation in the lower back
Sitting for more than a few minutes and then standing usually brings on very intense sciatica nerve pain.
You May Like: Advil Or Ibuprofen For Back Pain
Dont Think About Lower Back Pain While Sleeping Only
Its not just about lower back pain while sleeping only. As DailyHealthPost points out:
Ultimately, its not just about how you sleep. Your posture and activity during the day has a significant effect on muscles that may wind up feeling sore no matter what position you sleep in. During the day, focus on maintaining good posture at work and taking frequent breaks to get up and stretch.
Lower back pain is a condition that affects up to 80% of people in the United States. Its a widespread issue, and only tackling it when it comes up at night likely wont fix your pain entirely. In addition to modifying your bedtime routine, look towards things you can do during the day to reduce back pain. These include:
- Using hot or cold therapy for temporary relief of back pain
- Trying out chiropractic care or physical therapy for reducing more severe cases of back pain
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain when it flares up
Also, make sure to follow along with the PainDoctor.com blog as we often discuss lifestyle changes you can make every day to reduce lower back pain.
Other Potential Causes Of Lower Back Pain When Walking
Lower back pain when walking is not limited to these causes. Here are some other potential causes of lower back pain when walking:
Cauda Equina Syndrome
The compression of nerve roots, commonly resulting from a herniated disc in the lumbar area.15
Degenerative Disc Disease
Can be caused by the drying out of a disc, daily physical activity and sports, or injury.16
When part of a bone in the spine, a.k.a. a vertebrae, collapses.17See Your Doctor for Lower Back Pain When Walking
You dont want to gamble with your back health. Call your doctor to advise you on any type of treatment. Heres what your doctor might recommend:
While youll always want to call your doctor for advice, especially if your pain is severe, there are also several things you can do at home that might help you manage lower back pain.
- Change up your exercise routine
- Apply heating pads and ice packs
- Buy a more supportive mattress
- Pay attention to your posture
- Lose weight
- Focus on relaxing and natural stress relief18
Recommended Reading: Does Aleve Help With Back Pain
Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.
Stop Trying Passive Treatments
Passive treatments like heat, ice or ultrasound may feel good, but their effect is usually only temporary. Most research indicates that active self-care exercise and postural correction is an effective remedy for low back pain.
A visit to your physical therapist can help determine which exercises are best for your specific condition.
Recommended Reading: Is Motrin Good For Back Pain
How Can I Make My Back Stop Hurting In Bed
There are a few things you can do to help treat your back pain in bed.
First, you can consult with a physician.
They may use high-end procedures like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or EMGs to determine why youre experiencing back pain in bed.
However, not all back pain merits seeing a doctor.
Generally, youll want to make an appointment with your physician only if your back pain.
- Feels especially severe or radiates to other parts of your body.
- It quickly gets worse over time.
- It started with a specific injury.
- Is showing signs of infection like fever or swelling.
- It may be causing weakness, numbness, or tingling in your lower body.
If that doesnt sound like you, though, there are a few things you can do at home to help treat your back pain.
How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
Recommended Reading: Advil For Lower Back Pain