Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
What Are The Risks
Long bed rest can lead to slower recovery.Staying in bed for any prolonged period can make you stiff and increase pain. When you dont move and bend, you lose muscle strength and flexibility. With bed rest, you lose about 1 percent of your muscle strength each day. And you can lose 20 to 30 percent in a week. It becomes more difficult to return to any activity. As you become weaker and stiffer your recovery takes longer.
Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.
What can I do for the pain?Hot or cold packs often help. Some people can get pain relief from non-prescription analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen . But no medication should be taken for an extended period of time.
When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:
- You have severe continuous back pain that lasts longer than 48 hours.
- You have severe continuous back pain and fever.
- You have back pain with accompanying pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs or feet. Your leg symptoms are more disabling than your back symptoms.
- You have back pain and the onset of numbness in your private/genital region or changes in your ability to control your bladder and bowel function.
Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back painis usually age-related, but can also result from a prior injury. The mostcommon causes include:
- Arthritis of the spinethe gradual thinning of the cartilage inside the spine
- Spinal stenosisnarrowing of the spinal canal that may lead to nerve pain
- Disc problems, such as a herniated or bulging disc
- Myofascial pain syndromeunexplained muscle pain and tenderness
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.
Don’t Miss: Can Side Sleeping Cause Back Pain
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.
What To Do If Youre Stuck Sitting All Day
Despite your active lifestyle, we know that many of you get stuck sitting for long periods of time, whether at your desk, driving a car, or flying to your next awesome fitness-adventure destination. In this video, yoga expert Jon Kolaska shares a simple stretch you can do while seated that will bring your lower back some relief:
Donât Miss: What Is Good For Arthritis Back Pain
You May Like: What Helps Neck And Back Pain
How To Perform Lower Back Stretches
- Stretch your lower back carefully, especially if you have an existing injury or other health concerns, and if youre in pain, its best to consult your doctor before beginning a new type of exercise, Costello says.
- Consider if you are flection sensitive or extension sensitive , says Karen Litzy, P.T., D.P.T., owner and physical therapist at Karen Litzy Physical Therapy. When beginning stretching, she suggests being extra careful when working through movements that are flection or extension based.
- Aim to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds and preferably 30 seconds or longer, Costello recommends. The pain-relieving benefits will increase the longer you hold these stretches.
- Rather than rush through the moves, Costello encourages turning on soothing music and using this stretching time as a chance to relax and renew.
- Dont forget to breathe! It may sound silly, but Costello says focusing on using your breath can help you cope with any feelings of discomfort.
- In general, be sure to include other activities like walking in your every day along with these stretches, Litzy says.
Now, give these expert-approved lower back stretches a try.
At Home Stretches To Relieve Back Pain
There are many things that can cause lower back pain, but one of the most common reasons is simply because people dont stretch enough. When the muscles in your back get tight, it can pull on your spine and lead to pain. Thats why its important to keep those muscles loose with regular stretching.
Here are seven stretches you can do to relieve lower back pain:
Recommended Reading: What Kind Of Doctor To See For Lower Back Pain
Preventing Pain And Injury
Posture. Using correct posture and keeping your spine in alignment are the most important things you can do for your neck and back . The lower back bears most of your weight, so proper alignment of this section can prevent injury to your vertebrae, discs, and other portions of the spine. If you have back or neck pain, you may need to make adjustments to your daily standing, sitting, and sleeping habits and learn proper ways to lift and bend. Your workspace may need to be rearranged to keep your spine from slouching. Because extra pounds can make back pain worse, you should maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and body frame.
Exercise. Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury. A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises will improve your overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit .
Ways To Avoid Back Pain
If youâve been sidelined by a sore back, youâre not alone. Four out of five people experience back pain at some point, making it the second most common reason for visiting the doctor.
Back pain takes various forms, from a persistent dull ache to sudden sharp pain, and has many causes. Sometimes it results from a sprain, fracture, or other accidental injury. It can stem from a disease or medical condition, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or spinal stenosis . Many people develop back pain in part because theyâre overweight or sedentary.
The good news is that most lower back pain usually gets better within a few days or weeks, and surgery is rarely necessary. Whatâs more, simple self-help strategies such as these can be surprisingly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning:
1. Get more exercise. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. A day or two of rest may help, but more than that may not help the pain. Experts now know that regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain.
Read Also: What Is Best For Back Pain Ice Or Heat
Change Your Steering Wheel Grip
Researchers have been looking into which way is best for you to position yourself at the steering wheel when youre experiencing back pain. Before, experts suggested you hold your steering wheel at a 10 oclock and 2 oclock position. However, now with the prevalence of airbags, studies are finding you should place your hands at a 9 oclock and 3 oclock position for increased safety in the event of an airbag deployment. This position also allows you to rest your elbows on the vehicles armrests to help alleviate pain, particularly in your upper back.
Daily Habits To Stop Back Pain
10 daily habits to stop back pain
Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, there are many different actions you can take to help alleviate your back pain or prevent it from getting worse. Its all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting your spine, and strengthening your muscles. Changing a few daily habits can help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back for a long time.
Read Also: What Do I Do When I Have 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
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.
Also Check: What Causes Pain In The Back Of Your Neck
Stretch And Strengthen Your Core
Your core is the group of muscles that support your spine and acts as a pillar of strength for your body. So, its no surprise that a strong and healthy core can help to prevent lower back pain by stabilizing your spine and pelvis.
There are a variety of core strengthening exercises you can do to help prevent lower back pain. Pilates and yoga are two popular options, but there are also many core exercises you can do at home.
Your Gonstead chiropractor will be able to show you some specific exercises to help strengthen your core. They can also give you guidance on how often to do them and how to properly execute the movements to avoid injuring yourself.
Key Points About Low Back Pain
- Specific treatment for low back pain depends on the cause of the pain and the severity. But it often includes pain medicines and muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and assistive devices such as a back support. It also may include lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, weight loss, and increased physical activity.
- A back rehab program may be used as part of the treatment for low back pain.
- Measures to prevent back pain include using safe lifting techniques, maintaining correct posture, staying at a healthy weight, not smoking, and reducing stress.
Don’t Miss: Can Ms Cause Back Pain
What Causes Low Back Pain
It is usually caused by muscle strain in your lower back. If you strain a muscle in your back, it can hurt to move it.
Another cause of low back pain is a bulging disk. Disks in your spine give cushioning and support. When a disk bulges, or herniates, it may irritate a nerve . This can cause pain that travels down your thigh or leg. Pain caused by nerve irritation is called sciatica .
In rare cases, back pain may be caused by an infection, cancer, or other diseases.
Chose The Right Shoes
It is the first thing you want to look at is your shoes. Most people make the mistake of wearing the wrong kind of shoe. I know I have made the same mistake. I was running for miles on a trail in the hills of East Tennessee one day when I tweaked my back. I immediately thought my shoes were not going to hold up to the terrain, so I pulled off of the trail and went to the emergency room of a local hospital. Luckily they diagnosed me with spondylosis, which is an early stage of arthritis caused by years of pulling my back in different ways.
Read Also: How Long Does A Lower Back Strain Last
Also Check: Which Sleep Number Bed Is Best For 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?
Dont Forget That Its A Mattress For Your Body
Yes, read reviews. Yes, try out and test as many mattresses as you can. But, as the Cleveland Clinic points out, the mattress you pick also depends on your body shape:
If your hips are wider than your waist, a softer mattress can accommodate the width of your pelvis and allow your spine to remain neutral. If your hips and waist are in a relatively straight line, a more rigid surface offers better support.
You May Like: Which Painkiller Is Best For Back Pain
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.
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 dont 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
You May Like: How To Heal Your Back Pain