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How To Deal With Lower Back Pain

Things You Can Do To Ease Back Pain


Any of these conditions can cause inflammation or pressure on nerves or pain. When this happens, Cleveland Clinic back pain specialists recommend:

  • Be more physically active. Motion is lotion for the spine, notes spine specialist E. Kano Mayer, MD. The more active you are, the better youll feel. Stay active, and youll bounce back sooner from episodes of back pain.
  • Do physical therapy. Physicians can prescribe a back-healthy exercise program to help you gain strength, and improve balance and flexibility. Strengthening your back and abdominal muscles your core will make your spine more resilient.
  • Take medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin or acetaminophen can halt inflammatory pain. Pulsed dosing consistently taking the medicine two to three times per day for five to 10 days, even after pain subsides is more reasonable than as-needed dosing, says Dr. Mayer.
  • Apply cold. Reach for an ice pack first when back pain strikes. Applying ice helps quiet painful inflammation or muscle spasms.
  • Apply heat. After two or three days, consider using a heating pad, taking warm baths or lying briefly under a heat lamp. This can relax your back muscles and stimulate blood flow, explains Dr. Mayer. Dont overuse heat to avoid getting burned. Stretch warmed muscles to prevent muscle spasm after the heat source is removed.
  • Steroid Injections For Severe Back Pain

    Cortisone injections are usually a temporary solution. While they can be effective at reducing inflammation and providing short-term relief, its recommended that patients try less invasive options first.

    Common sprains and strains arent candidates for steroid injections. Rather, these are reserved for more extreme cases of chronic back pain like debilitating nerve pain and ruptured discs.

    Specialized Physical Therapy For Back Pain

    Physical therapy is a type of treatment that uses targeted exercises to improve your strength and flexibility. By strengthening the muscles that support your back, you can take pressure off your spine and reduce back pain. Physical therapy can help you ease and manage pain so you can do everyday activities. And physical therapists are experienced in helping treat both acute and chronic back pain. Theyll guide you through exercises designed to manage your specific symptoms.

    Physical therapy is often the best treatment option for back pain. Improving your muscle strength and learning how to perform daily activities without straining your back can resolve your chronic pain. It typically takes about six weeks to complete a back pain physical therapy program, though many people start feeling pain relief after their first visit.

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    The Changing Face Of Spinal Surgery

    Only a small percentage of patients with back pain are candidates for surgery, but for these patients, advances in techniques have made recovery a much easier road, says Boden of The Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center.

    Fifty years ago, a spine fusion meant a two-week hospital stay, a body cast or brace for months, and a minimum of six months away from normal activities. A spinal fusion is performed by fusing the vertebrae together with bone grafts to eliminate motion between two adjacent vertebrae where motion is causing lower back pain.

    Today, minimally invasively techniques allow for smaller incisions, less blood loss, and faster recovery time, Boden says. Some spine fusion techniques can be done on an outpatient basis.

    Fifty years from now, Boden predicts that disc replacement will be an alternative to spinal fusion. Moreover, gene therapy will be able to prevent or reverse disc degeneration, and genetic research will help discover genetic sources of back pain, he says.

    “Gene therapy for disc regeneration may be more than five years off, but less than 20,” he predicts.

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    Lower Back Pain Caused By Infection

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    Infections of the spine are not common, but they do occur. The doctor will ask about the usual signs and symptoms of infection, especially when back pain is accompanied by fever and/or chills. Dialysis patients, IV drug users, and patients who have recently had surgery, trauma, or skin infections are at risk for infections of the spine. Infections of the spine can be caused by a number of agents, most commonly bacteria. Doctors will first test for the presence of bacteria, then give antibiotics.

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    How To Deal With Lower Back Pain

    When we talk about lower back pain, we mean the pain that is felt in the lower back. You may also have a stiff back, decreased movement of the lower back, and difficulty standing up straight.

    Is this information appropriate for me?

    • This information is appropriate for you if:
    • You have low-back pain. It is also known as lumbago.
    • Your low back pain is not caused by: Injury to or pressure on the nerve roots of the spine
    • An injury caused by high speed
    • Cancer, an infection, nervous system problems, a fracture, or certain types of arthritis
    • You are 18 years of age or older.

    This information comes from adult research.

    There are many things you can do at home to help you improve and prevent back pain in the future.

    Lower back pain is caused due to couple of reasons. Lifting heavy objects, incorrect posture at workplace, sitting continuously in one place for long hours and exercising without proper guidance can lead to severe back problem and spinal cord issues.

    Lower back pain can be very agonizing and under serious cases can immobilize a person.

    Here are some tips for getting relief.

  • Sitting in one place for too long is not advisable. This can cause cramped legs and sore back. Even while working, make it a point to leave the seat and stretch the body backwards to relax the spine. Stretching the legs while sitting relieve muscle cramps. Walk around for a while so that your muscles get an opportunity to loosen up and the cramped sensation diminishes.
  • What Causes Lower Back Pain

    Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:

    • Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
    • Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
    • Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
    • Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
    • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
    • Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
    • Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.

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    What Research Is Being Done

    The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

    As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

    Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain

    Dealing with chronic lower back pain after back surgery

    Chronic back painis usually age-related, but can also result from a prior injury. The mostcommon causes include:

    In some cases, its difficult to pinpoint the cause of chronic back pain.If your doctor has exhausted all diagnostic options, its time to seek asecond opinion from a back pain specialist, recommends Nava. Itsimportant not to make rushed decisions or undergo extensive medicalprocedures until the origin of the pain is found. Not only may they nothelp they could make the pain worse, warns Nava.

    If the source of the pain is not known or cant be treated, your bestoption may be to work with your doctor on reducing the flare-ups and makingthe pain manageable with nonsurgical treatments.

    Back Pain Causes and Treatments Webinar | Stephanie Van, M.D.

    Chronic back pain is a persistent source of discomfort for many adults. In this webinar, our expert Stephanie Van, M.D., discusses common causes of back pain along with strategies for relief.

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    How To Deal With Lower Back Pain When Sitting

    by Patty Weasler, RNAugust 13, 2019

    Long-term sitting is one of the biggest causes of back pain and threats to the lower back, placing extra strain on the lower vertebrae. Luckily, to treat lower back pain when sitting, there is a wide variety of different treatments, stretches, and tips that can make things easier. Take a look at our guide and learn how to manage back pain when sitting.

    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.

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    Rub On Medicated Creams

    Skin creams, salves, ointments, or patches may help when your back feels stiff, sore, and tense. Many of these products contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, or lidocaine that can cool, heat, or numb the affected area.

    Put on creams right where you hurt. Ask someone to apply it if you have trouble reaching the spot.

    âIt’s not going to be a mainstay at providing significant relief, but it can calm things down,â Ray says.

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    2 – Short breaks

    Taking short and frequent breaks can help in reducing both work-related mental stress, as well as physical stress on the spine. Sitting in one position for extended hours is unhealthy and can worsen back pain. Movement while working for longer periods is recommended as it can strengthen the muscles and nerves. All activity trackers and smartwatches allow users to set idle alerts. It is a good way to find the motivation to get up and move around at work.

    3 – Workout

    This good old way allows one to tackle most of the issues related to a sedentary lifestyle. Today’s work and lifestyle weaken our trunk, core and lumbar muscles, and spine and cause back pain. Exercises like partial crunches, bridge, hamstring stretches, knee-to-chest, cat stretch, and shoulder and neck rolls can help restore the fluidity of our muscles, joints, and spinal discs and can alleviate the pain.

    Regular brisk walking is an easy-to-do and effective way to relieve back and spine pain. Walking and exercising can also help in weight loss, increasing blood flow to the muscles of the spine and raising the oxygen and nutrient levels in the blood which rejuvenates the muscles and relieves pain. However, consult a doctor before setting a workout routine.

    4 – A balanced diet

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    Enhance The Kinetic Chain

    A majority of lower back pain is earned over time, and is not just an anomaly as many fool themselves into believing. That means that your mobility and movement patterns have probably been dysfunctional for a long time, and have been getting progressively worse with every single faulty rep. Get your foot off the damn break before you hit the gas!

    The jaw dropping bioengineering of the human body provides many answers to why we get injured. This is most apparent in the Joint By Joint Theory, popularized by Grey Cook and Michael Boyle. This theory states that joints alternate between mobility and stability as their primary function. The lumbar spine is no exception. It primarily serves as a set of stability joints, and is surrounded by the thoracic spine and hips, which are primary mobile joints.

    To get our bodies back to equilibrium, a strong prehab-rehab emphasis must be placed on stabilization of the lumbar spine, which we will cover later, and mobility work for the thoracic spine and hips.

    Putting a focused effort on increasing hip mobility and range of motion can be manipulated by the positioning of the spine in movement. While your primary goal of training is protecting the spine, keeping it in a vertical position decreases the likelihood of buckling and reinjuring yourself.

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    Go To Work If You Can

    Its important to try to stay in work even if youre in pain. Research shows that people become less active and more depressed when they dont work.

    Being at work may distract you from the pain and might not make it worse.

    Talk to your supervisor or boss if parts of your job are difficult to begin with, but stress that you want to be at work if thats the case.

    If you have been off work for 4 to 6 weeks, plan with your doctor, therapist or employer how and when you can return.

    You could go back to work gradually. For instance, you might start with 1 day a week and gradually increase the time you spend at work.

    You could also agree changes to your job or pattern of work if it helps a health and safety rep or occupational health department may be useful here.

    What Can Cause Lower Back Pain

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    Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:


    • Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
    • Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.


    • Sprains , strains , and spasms
    • Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.

    Degenerative problems

    • Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
    • Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
    • Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.

    Nerve and spinal cord problems

    Non-spine sources

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    Ask About Prescription Medications

    If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:

    • Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
    • Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
    • Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.

    What Should I Know About Back Pain

    Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.

    The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.

    As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.

    Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.

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