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How To Ease Severe Back Pain

Alternative Back Pain Treatments To Try Before Choosing Surgery

How To Relieve Chronic Back Pain

If you deal with back pain, you know it can make you feel miserable. Whether its persistent low back pain or spasms, an aching neck, or sciatic nervepain shooting down your legs, chronic back pain can sideline you from work and your favorite activities.

Unfortunately, back pain is quite common. Eight in 10 people deal with some type of back pain during their lives. Low back pain in particular is responsible for 2.6 million visits to the emergency room each year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Despite a wealth of research in recent years about how to treat back pain, too many patients still receive unnecessary and often excessive treatment. Instead of being urged to continue to work and stay active, which has been shown to be effective, patients often are told to take time off to rest, referred for scans and surgery, and prescribed painkillers, including opioids.

Fortunately, there are many alternative treatments for back pain, many of which are easy to do at home and affordable, with no doctors prescription necessary.

What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes

The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.

  • Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
  • Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
  • Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.

These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.

The common symptoms of lower back pain.

Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.

Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .

Herniated disc. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves

Pain Medications To Treat Back Pain

A wide range of medications is used to treat both acute and chronic low back pain. Analgesic medications are specially formulated to relieve pain. They include over-the-counter acetaminophen and aspirin, as well as prescription opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used to relieve pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDS include ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen sodium. Several others, including a type of NSAID called COX-2 inhibitors, are available only by prescription.

There are also many topical creams or sprays that can dull and soothe low back pain. These are applied to the skin and thus stimulate localized nerves to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Topical analgesics can reduce inflammation and increase blood flow.

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Exercise Duration Intensity And Recovery

Exercise intensity is essential to consider when dealing with lower back pain. Remember, exercise is therapeutic only when done correctly.

You should only exercise until the point of mild fatigue. Exercising beyond this point puts unnecessary stress on the spine and can worsen lower back pain.

It is also important to avoid exercises that last too long. Extended periods of activity can lead to increased pain and fatigue. Exercise duration will depend on your level of conditioning. A good rule of thumb is to exercise for at least 20 minutes, but not more than 60 minutes.

Finally, you will want to allow adequate time for recovery after exercise. For most people, 48 hours is sufficient. However, if you are experiencing chronic lower back pain, exercise should be avoided on multiple consecutive days.Remember, before beginning any exercise program you should consult your physician to make sure exercise is safe for you.

What Is Lower Back Pain

Chronic Back Pain Doesnt Have to be Your Story

Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.

Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.

Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.

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Chronic Conditions That Cause Back Pain

Conditions that can lead to chronic low back pain include spinal stenosis, spondylitis, and fibromyalgia. Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the normal spinal canal through which the spinal cord passes. Spondylitis is chronic inflammation of the spine. Fibromyalgia is a muscle disorder that features chronic muscle pain and tenderness.

What Are The Treatments For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.

Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:

  • Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
  • Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
  • Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
  • Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.

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How Long Does Lower Back Pain Usually Last

Lower back pain can be categorized as acute, subacute or chronic. Acute episodes of lower back pain usually last from a few days to 4 weeks and subacute lower back pain lasts between 4 to 12 weeks. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, about 20 percent of people with acute back pain go on to develop chronic back paindefined as pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer. Even in these cases, there are many different treatment options to help relieve lower back pain symptoms.

When your back is really killing you, you might worry something is seriously wrong. The same goes for back pain that seems unending. The good news is that while back pain is a major inconvenience, it is rarely an urgent medical issue. In fact, most of the time you dont have to treat it. Back pain usually resolves on its own unless you have a major underlying issue.

Hot Or Cold Therapy For Low Back Pain

How To Relieve Back Pain

Hot or cold packs may help ease pain and reduce symptoms. The soothing relief from heat, or the dulling relief from a cold pack, is only temporary and will not treat more serious causes of back pain. However, they may provide greater mobility for people with acute, subacute, or chronic pain, allowing them to get up and get moving.

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The Clamshell Exercise For Low Back Pain

Why its beneficial: The clamshell is designed to strengthen your glute medius muscles. Weak glutes force your back muscles to work harder, which can lead to back pain.

Try it:

  • Lie on your side, with your knees and hips bent.

  • While keeping your ankles together, tighten your abdominal muscles.

  • Lift your top knee about six inches into the air.

  • Protip: It is important that you do not rotate your hip and back backwards.

    Perform two sets of ten repetitions.

    Modification: If this causes you any discomfort, you can modify by performing the clamshell on your back.

    Injections And Other Procedures

    Depending on the source of your pain for example, if you have sciatica epidural injections may be helpful. Injections in the spine arent recommended for non-specific lower back pain though. If your back pain is chronic and other treatments havent helped, there is a procedure called radiofrequency denervation that uses a needle to treat the pain. This is only suitable for some people and you may need to have other tests beforehand. Speak to your specialist for advice.

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    Acupuncture For Low Back Pain Relief

    Acupuncture can be moderately effective for chronic low back pain. With acupuncture, fine needles are inserted into various points around the body.

    Acupuncture practitioners hypothesize that when these thin needles are inserted into the skin and then stimulated by twisting or tapping, naturally occurring chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine are released to relieve pain.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests acupuncture can be an effective pain reliever. Further scientific and clinical studies are underway to prove the efficacy of acupuncture therapy.

    How Is Back Pain Treated

    Chronic Back Pain Doesnt Have to be Your Story ...

    Non-surgical treatment with limited rest and over the counter pain relievers is sufficient treatment for most patients like you. In some people, a supervised physical therapy program for ongoing mechanical pain may be recommended. Talk to your healthcare provider to see which treatment is right for you.

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    Look Into Getting A New Mattress

    How old is your bed? You may be surprised to learn that the average life span of a mattress is less than 10 years. Theres no hard-and-fast rule, says Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University, but if your mattress is sagging significantly or is more than six to eight years old, Id think about getting a new one.

    Something else to consider: A firm mattress may not do your back any favors, says Carmen R. Green, MD, a physician at the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center. A number of studies over the years suggest that people with lower back pain who sleep on medium-firm mattresses do better than those with firm beds, she says.

    Treatment Options For Stress

    The first thing we do with every patient who has back pain is determine its root cause. Its important to understand that no adult can expect to live 100 percent pain-free or stress-free. However, we can discuss ways to minimize discomfort and help patients feel less tense.

    An effective way to reduce stress and back pain is to exercise and stretch more.

    Physical activity can release endorphins and improve overall health, which can help reduce stress. Make a point to get up during the work day and do a few laps around the office every few hours, or try a standing desk. At home, reserve time to exercise. Physical therapy also can help relieve spine pain and return your neck and back to optimal flexibility. A physical therapist can show you specific stretches to pinpoint trouble areas in your neck and back.

    Eating a healthy diet also can help reduce stress.

    When you eat well long term, your general health can improve, and you will likely feel more energetic. Healthy eating is key to weight loss and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight offloads pressure from your spine and improves your posture.

    Additionally, its important to make time in your schedule to relax.

    Many patients with back pain are very busy with work, family, and social commitments. Carve out time to read a good book, spend time with family and friends, or practice mindfulness or meditation.

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    New Understanding Of Chronic Pain

    Patients who report continuing pain in the absence of a definitive pathology are sometimes dismissed by health professionals. Even in the absence of such an identifiable cause, however, chronic pain can lead to neurological feedback processes that only serve to worsen the pain and make it more difficult to treat.

    Pain is inherently subjective, and a greater awareness of the need for taking pain seriously is growing among the health community as well as the public at large. This is particularly true for chronic back pain sufferers.

    While a great majority of back pain cases are self-limiting and resolve on their own, the risk of recurrence and development of chronic disease is significant.

    failed back surgeryneuropathic pain

    The above considerations have led to a proliferation of services available to patients seeking both medical and alternative treatment for back pain.

    Pain Management For Chronic Back Pain

    Morning routine to relieve lower back pain

    Pain, especially intractable or chronic pain, used to be something many patients simply had to learn to live with. In recent years, however, researchers have learned a great deal about pain and its physiological and psychological basis, leading to pain management treatments that can provide complete or partial pain relief.

    Untreated pain can interfere with the healing process by affecting the immune system and leading to other undesirable results. In cases of back pain, discomfort can impede the rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise and increasing the risk of psychological distress.

    This article profiles the profession of Pain Management and the main approaches used to treat chronic pain.

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    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.

    Rely On Friends And Family

    It is important to have strong relationships with family and friends you can depend on when your back pain makes it hard to get through the day.

    Take time to build strong friendships at work and outside of work by using caring words and being kind. Give sincere compliments to the people around you. Respect those around you and treat them the way you like to be treated.

    If a relationship is causing stress, consider working with a counselor to find ways to resolve conflict and strengthen the relationship.

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    Low Back Pain Symptoms: Does Your Back Hurt

    Low back pain symptoms range from sharp and stabbing to a dull ache. The pains can be constant or intermittent and positional. Acute low back pain can appear suddenly after injury. Chronic back pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months. Consult a doctor if you have prolonged back pain longer than 72 hours.

    Consider Adding Other Cannabinoid Products For Increased Relief

    15 Powerful Exercises To Ease Lower Back Pain And ...

    For many people, Delta-8-THC may be effective on its own for mediating back pain. Others like to combine Delta-8 with a daily CBD dose, which is known to have its own potential benefits for managing pain.

    Most commonly, though, people find that while Delta-8-THC is effective on its own, it’s not always the best option for managing back pain in every situation. For instance, you can’t take Delta-8-THC before driving or operating machinery. Because it’s psychoactive, it may not be the best option for managing pain during the day when you’ll need to go into the office or run errands.

    Instead, you may consider a combination of regular CBD doses to help stave off discomfort and Delta-8-THC doses as a spot treatment for more severe discomfort. Because CBD is not psychoactive, you can use it to manage discomfort in nearly any situation.

    To learn more, we recommend reading more about CBD and checking out our Vitality CBD Collection.

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    Support Your Body In A Warm Pool

    The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain.14

    If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water that is about 83 degrees to 88 degrees. Hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.

    See Water Therapy Exercise Program

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