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
, 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:
Injections. An or a may provide short-term pain relief when lower back pain causes sciatica symptoms, such as leg pain.
Secret #: Stretching Programs/yoga
If youre wondering how to get your sciatic nerve to stop hurting, yoga is a great option.
But we want to warn you not to do anything that makes your pain worse, even stretching or yoga.
Yoga is perhaps one of the best ways to relieve the pain of sciatica and prevent its reoccurrence as well, depending on the root cause.
Sciatica is a pain in the butt, literally. What better way to ease the pain than to work it out? Yoga will stretch out muscles that are tight and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some of the best yoga poses for sciatica are:
- Pigeon on a Chair This is a great stretch for those who cannot lie flat on the floor without pain. Sit in a comfortable chair. Place your right ankle on top of your left knee and try to move the right knee towards the floor. You can apply very light pressure to the right knee with your hand for a deeper stretch. Hold and repeat with the opposite leg.
- Pigeon Pose Place a folded towel under your behind and thigh on the right side as you cross the right leg in front of you. Place the left leg stretched out directly behind you. If you can, bend down at the waist over your right leg. If you cant, simply stay in the pigeon pose and feel the stretch. Change sides.
- Cobra If you can lie on your stomach on the floor without pain, the cobra pose is a good choice. Lie with your palms on the floor under your shoulders, feet together, and pointed behind you. Push your torso up off the ground but leave your hips on the floor.
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.
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When To Start Exercising
When back pain is severe, remain up and around to the extent possible. Extended bed rest is not good during a bout of severe back pain, but neither is rushing into stretching and strengthening exercises, according to research.
“If you have an episode of low back pain and try to start exercising the next day, that turns out not to be that helpful,” Dr. Katz says. Instead, resume your normal activities as soon as possible, but avoid lifting heavy weight and engaging in physical activities that exert sudden stresses on your back, like jogging or shoveling snow.
Strengthen Your Core With Side Planks
The side plank is perfect for strengthening the sides of your core muscles and low back.
How to do it:Begin by positioning your body sideways. Place one elbow in a 90 degree angle and stack your feet and legs together with one side of your hips and legs touching the floor. Now brace your core and butt muscles and lift your hips off the floor. Support your weight on your elbow and feet. Try to keep your whole body aligned from top to bottom. Hold the lifted position for 30 sec to 1 minute. Now do the side plank on the other side. Repeat 3 times on each side.** Ensure to keep your back at a neutral position throughout the entire exercise.
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Know Your Otc Medications
Nonprescription pain relievers can help with muscle aches and stiffness. The two main types of over-the-counter options are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
True to their name, NSAIDs help lower inflammation that can lead to swelling and tenderness. But acetaminophen does not relieve inflammation. You can reach for either type of pain reliever for occasional back pain. NSAIDs may work a bit better, Hemani says, if you have arthritis of the spine or other inflammatory conditions.
Maintain Correct Posture When Sitting
You can avoid lower back pain by maintaining proper posture when sitting. If you have a desk job, keep your feet planted on the floor and use a chair that provides lower back support. Also, avoid hunching forward to see your computer screen and reaching far in front of you to use your mouse or keyboard.
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Who Gets Back Pain
Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common medical problems. Youre more likely to experience back pain as you get older.
Many people hurt their backs when they lift, push, or pull something that’s too heavy.
You may also be at risk for back pain if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have poor posture
- Arent physically active
- Fall or have an accident
- Have a health problem that can cause back pain
Or You Could Be Dying What Are The Odds That Back Pain Is Something Scary
Of course there are cases of low back pain that have alarming causes, but its reassuringly rare. Once in a while back pain is a warning sign of cancer, autoimmune disease, infection, or a handful of other scary culprits. Over the age of 55, about one in twenty cases turns out to be a fracture, and one in a hundred is more ominous. The further you are from 55, the better your odds.
But how can you tell? It can be tricky. This is a concise, readable guide to symptoms that need better-safe-than-sorry investigation with your doctor. In other words, this article explains the difference between dangerous and just painful as clearly as possible. Tables, checklists, and examples ahead.
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How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
Dont Slump Over Your Desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. Its critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
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What’s The Treatment For Low Back Strain
Low back strain can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal on their own, given time. To speed the healing, you should:
- Ice your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also ice your back after physical activity.
- Apply heat to your back — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could just soak in a hot bath.
- Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with lower back pain and swelling. However, these drugs may have side effects. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants are sometimes necessary.
- Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a belt or girdle to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or for support with heavy or repetitive lifting.
- Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. That will make it worse.
- Maintain good muscle tone in your abdominal and lower back muscles.
How Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain
While you cant stop aging or change your genetic makeup, lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent lower back pain. Having a healthy lifestyle may make you less likely to suffer an accidental injury, too.
Improve your physical fitness. People who are not physically fit are more likely to develop lower back pain because strong core muscles help support the lower back.
Stay active. People who lead sedentary lives may be more likely to injure themselves when they do exert themselves. As far as back health is concerned, its better to do a smaller amount of physical activity most days of the week than to sit all week and over-exert yourself on the weekends.
Lose weight if necessary. The more you weigh, the more pressure you have on your lumbar vertebrae. Being overweight or obese can put stress on the back and lead to lower back pain.
Lift heavy objects the right way. Be sure to squat while lifting so that your hips and knees do much of the work. Keep the load close to your chest while you lift.
Your legs, not your lower back, should be the main driver when you’re lifting something heavy.
Make your workspace as ergonomic as possible. If you sit at a desk, make sure your chair has plenty of low-back support and your hips are at a right angle to the floor.
Dont use tobacco products. In addition to all the other health problems tobacco use causes, it .
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Secret #: Mindful Meditation
You might be rolling your eyes at this one, but that simply means that you have never tried mindful meditation to control chronic pain. We understand if youre skeptical, everyone is before they try it.
While this practice wont heal an underlying problem, it is a way to help control pain, especially chronic pain, and it is scientifically proven. Even those who only dabbled in this type of meditation found substantial pain relief, so you dont even have to be a guru to reap the benefits.
Mindful meditation is shown to reduce pain levels by as much as 57%. Those who really master the art can reduce their pain by 90%. This works by soothing the brain patterns that are altered by pain, so that you no longer feel pain with the same level of intensity as before.
If you want a more complete explanation of how mindful meditation can help to change the way your brain observes pain and how to practice this ancient method, you can find more information here.
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
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Secret #: Chiropractic Care
What is the best treatment for sciatica? In a nutshell, comprehensive chiropractic care.
Chiropractors are specialists in all things to do with the musculoskeletal system of the body, so it makes sense that they would know the best ways to treat the root cause of your pain! Whether it is from a bulging disc or a lumbar subluxation, your chiropractor can diagnose and treat your problem, virtually eliminating sciatica pain for most people.
One study comparing chiropractic manipulations to simulated manipulations found chiropractic manipulation to be effective for sciatica pain relief. These manipulations, also known as spinal adjustments, can help align the spine and relieve pressure on the disc that is pressing on the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine.
How to get rid of sciatica pain forever? Of course, this wont be possible if you suffer from certain health problems, but for most people, regular visits to your chiropractor will keep sciatica pain from ever rearing its ugly head again!
Your local chiropractor can not only perform adjustments to the spine, but they also offer a wide range of other physical modality treatment options, depending on your need, including:
Chiropractic care has been proven to be an effective means of treating sciatica. A study done in 2010 found that 60% of those with chronic sciatica pain found as much pain relief using chiropractic care as those who had surgery!
Is Lower Right Or Left Back Pain Worrisome
Pain on one side of the back is not particularly more worrisome than central pain. There are three main kinds of one-sided back pain:
Most of the anatomy of the low back and abdomen is symmetrical. Some of the guts are not symmetrical, and only some of those is a plausible cause of back pain on one side. Heres some of the key anatomy to consider:
The side of the pain on its own doesnt tell us much, and most of the one-sided sources of pain are viscera that usually cause abdominal pain instead of back pain, or in addition to it. In other words, the only reason to worry about right or left lower back pain is if it is otherwise worrisome: if you have other red flags or significant non-back symptoms.
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Exercise And Physical Therapy
Aside from aging, prolonged inactivity is a significant factor in developing sciatica. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle or dont get a lot of physical exercise, your joints and muscles will stiffen and freeze up. This can make standing, walking, or even sitting down painful.
Inactivity isnt solely caused by lifestyle choices either its also a frequent consequence of traumatic injuries or conditions that force the patient to stay in bed. Even after recovery, any kind of movement will be painful since the spine isnt used to bearing the bodys weight anymore.
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to address chronic pain. However, older patients need to balance the need for physical exercise with their special considerations. In cases like these, physical therapy is a better alternative since medical staff will be close by to assist them.
Exercise and physical therapy are two of the most effective ways to alleviate mild-to-moderate sciatica. Your therapist will put you through a strict training regimen designed to loosen your joints and strengthen your muscles, allowing your spine to better support your weight. They may also recommend some exercises that you can follow at home.