One Back Pain Treatment You Probably Dont Need
Back pain can be incredibly frustrating, and going under the knife may seem like the quickest, easiest fix to bring relief. But the truth is, many people dont need surgery for lower back pain management, Dr. Park says.
If your back pain is musculoskeletal, you will not require surgery, but if its a pinched nerve thats due to a disc herniation or something else, you may need to have surgery, he says. But even in those people, when you go through a six-to-eight-week course of treatment that includes physical therapy and activity modification, 85 to 90 percent of the time, they wont need surgery.
However, if you try the treatments above and dont see any improvement or still feel pain, talk to your doctor about a referral to a pain management specialist, as more specific tests or treatments may be required to get to the bottom of whats going on.
Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on .
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.
Recommended Reading: How Does A Diuretic Help Back Pain
If A New Mattress Isnt In The Cards Make Adjustments To Your Bed
Buying an entirely new mattress may not be economically feasible for you right now. You can make small adjustments now, though, if youre still trying to figure out how to get rid of lower back pain while sleeping.
WebMD.com recommends a few quick solutions. Their major one? If youre looking for a firmer mattress, try adding plywood supports between the mattress and its base. This can increase the firmness of your mattress, quickly and easily.
Recommended Reading: Why Am I Having Pain In My Lower Back
Read Also: Is Memory Foam Best For Back Pain
Alternative Back Pain Treatments To Try Before Choosing Surgery
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can Back Pain Cause Chest Pain
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:
You May Like: Does Motrin Help With Back Pain
Learn More Precise Words To Describe Your Pain
It can be really difficult to find the language to describe physical sensations, and youll probably never find a word that seems to fit perfectly. But learning more about the different words your language has for pain can help you communicate more effectively. It can even help your doctor diagnose the cause of your pain.
Here are some words commonly used to describe pain. Make a note of which ones resonate with you:
For more resources on how to communicate what pain feels like to your doctor, check out some of the links at the bottom of this article.
You May Like: What Exercises To Avoid With Lower Back Pain
Heat Therapy And Cold Therapy To Help Back Pain
Heat therapy and cold therapy are two sides of the same coin. Heat therapy uses warm water or heating pads to relieve muscle pain, while cold therapy uses ice or cold water. In certain situations, using heat therapy and cold therapy can help relieve pain and promote healing.
For new or acute pain like pain caused by a fall or other pain that shouldnt last beyond six weeks cold therapy can be a great way to reduce swelling, decrease inflammation and numb pain.
For chronic pain pain thats expected to last or has lasted for more than six weeks heat is usually the temperature of choice for soothing pain and stimulating the healing process.
You might benefit from both hot and cold therapy. For instance, after exercise, immediate cold therapy can reduce muscle soreness. After 24 hours, switching to heat therapy can help your muscles heal faster.
Improve Your Posture To Reduce Back Pain
Most of us spend a good part of our day sitting down, which may be more harmful than you realize. You can minimize the impact by maintaining good posture. Correct posture in a chair means having all the bones in your spine lined up neatly, like a stack of perfectly aligned blocks. You should keep your feet flat on the floor and your computer keyboard within easy reach so youre not leaning forward or slumping. This is part of proper office ergonomics.
Many apps and devices exist that can help you enhance your posture. If you work at a computer all day, try the software and app Posture Man Pat. This free app interacts with the webcam on your screen, tracking where your face is relative to your screen. If your posture starts to droop and curve, the app will alert you.
If you are looking to get really tech-savvy, try the Lumo Lift Posture Coach. This wearable device has a sensor that will vibrate when you change your posture from what the posture coach is calibrated to.
Read Also: Does Ibuprofen Work For Back Pain
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after you lift something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. Sometimes it can develop for no apparent reason. Some people just wake up one day with low back pain.
Although nonspecific back pain is sometimes called simple back pain, simple does not mean that the pain is mild. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe. Typically, the pain is in one area of the lower back but sometimes it spreads to one or both buttocks or thighs. The pain is usually eased by lying down flat. It is often made worse if you move your back, cough, or sneeze. So, nonspecific low back pain is mechanical in the sense that it varies with posture or activity.
Most people with a bout of nonspecific low back pain improve quickly, usually within a week or so, sometimes a bit longer. However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain .
Use Posture Correctors For Lower Back Pain
If you have caught yourself slouching very often, to a point where it has become a cause for lower back aches it is time to immediately get yourself a posture corrector. What it does is retrains your body to develop better posture so that every other function of your body is performed better. It is like how a cycle works so much better and efficiently when both its wheels are properly aligned. Otherwise, there is unnecessary and avoidable friction that only gets worse with time.
Posture Correctors help to reduce muscle tension, reduce pressure on the spine, and help to improve posture to redistribute the weight in the spine.
Don’t Miss: How To Fix Lower Back Muscle Pain
How Is Lumbar Strain Treated
Specific treatment for a lumbar strain will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the injury
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Education regarding the use and wearing of appropriate protective equipment
Medicines, such as anti-inflammatories and spinal injections, may also be used to relieve pain and inflammation.
Get A Prenatal Massage
A certified prenatal massage therapist can bring quick relief when back pain is acute, especially when it’s the result of muscular clenching that irritates nerves and sends pain signals to the brain. Research has shown that in addition to relieving pain, regular prenatal massage can help alleviate depression and anxiety in pregnancy.
Swedish massage is the most common and advisable method of prenatal massage because it is gentle and soothing, and it uses long, smooth strokes that won’t aggravate the joints or push fluid through the body in an unhealthy way. Pregnant people should first consult with their doctor to make sure prenatal massage is safe for them and then make sure to work with a prenatal massage therapist who is certified. To be comfortable on the massage table, a side-lying position is usually best.
Recommended Reading: Can You Die From Back Pain
Sleeping And Lying Down
- Select a firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your mattress. You can also place the mattress on the floor temporarily if necessary.
- If youve always slept on a soft surface, it may be more painful to change to a hard surface. Try to do what is most comfortable for you.
- Use a back support at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may be helpful.
- Use a firm pillow that supports the curve of your neck.
- Do not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest.
- When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.
Nonspecific Low Back Pain
This is the most common type of back pain. The majority of cases of sudden-onset low back pain are classed as nonspecific. This is the type of back pain that most people will have at some point in their lives. It is called nonspecific because it is usually not clear what is actually causing the pain. In other words, there is no specific problem or disease that can be identified as the cause of the pain. The severity of the pain can vary from mild to severe. This type of back pain is discussed further below.
Don’t Miss: How To Exercise With Lower Back Pain
Clinical Guidelines That Stimulate A More Active Approach To Management
The accumulated evidence from randomised trials and systematic reviews regarding the value of diagnosticand therapeutic interventions has now been incorporated in clinical guidelines. A few initial surveys have shown that these guidelines are being followed to some extent, but there is still room for improvement, especially in those countries and settings in which a large discrepancy exists between recommendations in guidelines and actual management in clinical practice. Measures should be taken to minimise this gap. Simply developing and publishing evidence based guidelines and subsequently disseminating these guidelines may not be effective enough to change practice. Implementation seems essential in changing clinical practice. Several trials have evaluated implementation of guidelines and its effect on patient and process outcomes.25w8 These trials show modest effects at best. More intensive multifaceted interventions might be needed to achieve further progress in this area.
A patient’s perspective
I can’t even remember exactly when my backaches started. It must have been about 20 years ago, when I was teaching kindergarten. That kind of work is hard on your back: everything happens close to the floor. I had a check-up with a specialist who, after taking x ray scans, told me that my back was weak. I understood that I needed to take better care of my back, so I went to a physiotherapist, who taught me some exercises to strengthen my back.
Sharp Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
Possible explanation: appendicitis
What is it: Once universally believed to be a vestigial organ, the appendix is now thought to play a role in maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora. The appendix can sometimes become inflamed, either because of infection or a blockage in its hollow chamber, and bacteria can build up inside. If it bursts, the bacteria causing the inflammation is released into the abdominal cavity, causing a variety of potential complications. Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen, along with other possible symptoms such as nausea and fever, is a telltale sign of acute appendicitis.
Treatment: Because of the danger related to the appendix bursting, treatment is necessary as soon after the onset of the symptoms as possible. In some cases, antibiotics can be effective in treating the condition, but the majority of the time an appendectomy is necessary.
Recommended Reading: Can You Lose Weight By Rubbing Your Stomach
Read Also: How To Beat 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 Causes Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain has many potential causes and is not entirely understood in some cases. More sudden symptom onset could suggests an organ condition that should be addressed by a medical professional.
In general, abdominal pain is brought about by a few specific conditions:
- Digestive issues that cause bloating or burning sensations in your intestines such as irritable bowel syndrome can make your abdominal section ache.
- Distended organs can lead to painful complications in your abdominal area as well.
- Low or impeded blood flow to an organ in the area can cause abdominal pain, as can general inflammation of an organ in your stomach region.
While the causes of left / right side, upper or lower abdominal cramps are multiple, most forms of common treatment point to one or two sources of medication bought from a drugstore. For seriously painful cases of abdominal muscle cramps or lower back pain you should always consult your doctor , but most of the time you can opt for natural medicine to get rid of abdominal cramping symptoms.
How Is Back Pain Treated
You can do several things to manage back pain. A conversation with your doctor or physiotherapist can help address any concerns you may have and help you to better understand your treatment. Remember that not all information is trustworthy, so let your healthcare team know about treatments you are considering before you begin them.
Ways to manage back pain include the following:
Strong pain medication is not recommended for back pain. Research shows strong pain medication provides little benefit and can cause side effects such as drowsiness, sedation and/or dependence.
If you have severe back pain and your current medication is not adequately managing it, talk to your doctor about a suitable treatment plan. In some cases, your doctor may suggest an injection that can numb the pain such as an epidural injection, or a surgical procedure, such as a laminectomy to help manage your pain.
There are many other treatments to manage back pain, but they have not been well proven. These include:
- herbal medicines
- heat and cold therapy
FIND A HEALTH SERVICE The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.