When Should You Seek Treatment For Acute Or Chronic Back Pain
Whether you think your back pain is acute or chronic, anytime youre experiencing pain that lasts longer than two weeks without any improvement in symptoms, we strongly suggest you get the care you need.
If you think you need care right away, you can also go to your nearest orthopedic urgent care location.
If the pain is new or you know youve tweaked something, a great place to start is to find a physical therapy location and make an appointment. Our physical therapists will tailor strengthening and mobility exercises to your unique needs, and you can plan on about six visits.
That said, acute back pain will usually heal itself over a few weeks. But chronic pain usually doesnt get better without medical intervention. Why? While home remedies and short-term back pain treatments are helpful, they provide temporary relief and dont address those underlying causes of chronic pain.
So, if youre regularly experiencing signs of chronic back pain, dont ignore it. While chronic pain is long-lasting, it doesnt have to be permanent and you probably dont need surgery. This is where the Physicians Neck & Back Center spinal strengthening program can help.
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.
How To Get Rid Of Sciatica Pain Naturally: 5 Steps That Help
If youve had sciatica, then you know the pain it can cause in your lower back or legs. It can range from mild, annoying pain to sharp, burning pain, or can become excruciating. Sciatica can often be mistaken for a disc injury, lower back pain, pelvic pain, or hip pain. And knowing how to get rid of sciatica is crucial to getting you feeling healthier and happier.
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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.
Yoga: Stretching For Back Pain
If back pain doesn’t go away in three months, there’s evidence that yoga can help. In one recent study, people who took 12 weeks of yoga classes had fewer symptoms of low back pain than people who were given a book about care for back pain. The benefits lasted several months after the classes were finished. The study suggests conventional stretching also works just as well. Make sure your instructor is experienced at teaching people with back pain and will modify postures for you as needed.
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Exercise For Lower Back Pain
There are a number of exercise therapy you can undertake for faster recovery from lower back pain. But it is important that you inquire from your therapist on which type of exercise to perform depending on your condition. Some exercises are extreme and can cause more harm rather than helping. Let your doctor recommend which ones are good for you. Here are some of the exercise that helps in reducing and treatment of lower back pain.
- Hamstring â This is whereby you pull your legs as you sit or lay on your back, then you straighten them.
- Back Flex â In this exercise for lower back pain you will push your body off the floor as you keep your hips on the floor.
- Hip Flex â In this exercise for lower back pain you keep your abdominal muscle tight and you slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your groin and hip.
- Lumbar Arc â here you will lie down, fit your hips until your spine is lined with the floor and your buttock and abdomen muscle tight.
- Half Sit Up â In this type of exercise for lower back pain, sit on the floor, put your legs in rectangular position and your heels in a hip width position and apart on the ground, your tip toes should point up cross your arms on your chest and keep your upper part in a straight posture and leaning a little bit backwards. Then slowly bend backwards and do not roll backwards and also ensure that your head is kept straight and up.
Will Bed Rest Help Back Pain
Doctors often recommend continuing your usual activities of daily living as soon as possible. Studies suggest that strict bedrest can often prolong or worsen low back pain. Bed rest can also lead to secondary complications such as depression, decreased muscle tone, and blood clots in the legs. You should try and keep moving while avoiding activities that noticeably aggravate or worsen back pain. By staying active, those who suffer from low back pain can gain greater flexibility and quicker recovery.
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How Long Does Lower Back Pain Last & What To Do For It
Lower back pain is a condition that affects so many people. It is estimated that about 80% of adults do suffer from lower back pain at some point of their lifetime. This problem is a work related disability and a major cause of absenteeism in most working places. Lower back pain affects both genders and can be felt in different intensities ranging from dull persistent pains to sharp pains that can immobilize a person.
Factors like accident, age, lifting of heavy materials and sedentary lifestyles can cause lower back pains. However, a bigger percentage of low back pain is termed as mechanical and is linked to Spondylosis which is the general degeneration of the spine in connection to wear and tear in bones, discs and joints as you grow old.
What Is A Lumbar Bulging Or Herniated Disc
Discs are like miniature jelly doughnuts, exactly the right size to fit between your vertebrae. Theyre made out of an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds softer cartilage in the center.
A bulging disk looks like a hamburger thats too big for the bun. The disc extends outside its normal place and the bulge typically affects a large portion of the disc.
Bulging is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk.
A herniated disk, on the other hand, happens when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to escape out of the disk.
Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks, and cause much more pain than compressed discs.
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What Are The Causes
Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Anything that irritates the sciatic nerve can cause pain, ranging from mild to severe. Sciatica is usually caused by a compressed or pinched nerve in the lower spine.
Common causes of sciatica can include a herniated disk and a narrowing of the spine canal . Everyday movement and injury also contribute to conditions that are the underlying causes of sciatica.
Episodes of sciatic pain tend to occur when excess pressure is placed on tight or imbalanced piriformis or hamstring muscles. Sciatica flare-ups can have a number of causes, including:
- Sleeping in an awkward position
- Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft
- Wearing high-heeled shoes
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Ways To Relieve Lower Back Pain At Home
Low Back Pain is very common these days among all age groups. This causes frustration and discomfort. Backache aliment can ruin your day, and sometimes even last for weeks, months, or a year. Thankfully, there are many home remedies to relieve back pain. This will also help you to lower the intake of the medication and act as a support to the existing medical treatment.
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Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
How Long Does A Pinched Nerve Last
Pinched nerve recovery time depends on both the amount of damage and the type of treatment you choose.
Damage from a pinched nerve may be minor or severe. It may cause temporary or long-lasting problems. The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for nerve compression, the more quickly youll find relief.
Lets get right down to how to heal your compressed nerve as quickly as possible without medication.
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When & How To Seek Medical Care
If low back pain lasts for longer than one to two weeks, seek medical care. First, make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms are present in addition to back pain:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unexplained fever
- Loss of control of your bowels or bladder
Find Back Pain Relief: Lighten Your Bags
Carrying an overstuffed purse, briefcase, or handbag can strain the low back. If you must carry a heavy load, consider using a wheeled briefcase instead. By reducing the amount of weight you’re carrying, you reduce the amount of pressure on the spine. Help keep your kids’ backs healthy by making sure their backpacks are not overloaded. A heavy backpack could mean future back pain for your little ones.
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Hot Or Cold Therapy For Low 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.
How To Fix Sciatica: Easy And Effective Ways To A Pain
How to Fix Sciatica: Easy and Effective Ways to a Pain-free Life
Ever experienced a mysterious leg pain? Where the pain pinches on your lower-back then travels all the way down to one or both legs? The leg agony alone with numbness, weakness, and tingling is also known as lumbar radiculopathy or Sciatica.
How to fix Sciatica can be a real pain in the butt. The pain is so discomforting that sitting down on the affected side or arching forward can send chilling pain all the way to your nerves. The Sciatic nerve is, in fact, the longest and thickest rope-like nerve in the body and helps activate several leg muscles.
This nerve courses through the middle of your hip external rotators, like the piriformis muscle in your buttocks. Most of the time this muscle gets overused and herniated disks too are top culprits, so when your hip rotators tighten up or a disk develops a crack in the spinal canal, the nerve is compressed, often excruciating, resulting in Sciatic pain.
Some people feel better after 6 weeks, although thats weeks of pure agony. Others have it worse enduring longer pain for months. So the question is, how to fix Sciatica? When it comes to treatments, options can be endless but here are some of the easiest and effective ways.
Moving is the opposite to what we all do every time Sciatic pain strikes we all lie down
Home Pain Remedies: Ice, Heat and Pain Relievers
Personalized Massage Therapy
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What Are Some Complementary Alternative And Emerging Treatments For Lower Back Pain
In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:
Platelet-rich plasma . PRP treatments use a small sample of your own blood that has concentrated amounts of blood building blocks known as platelets. Your doctor then injects the PRP directly into a damaged disc. The theory is that PRP injections use your own healing system to accelerate improvement of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. PRP treatment has a longer track record in knee osteoarthritis, but a recent review article in the Journal of Spine Surgery suggests it may have a useful role for back pain, too. PRP needs a lot more research before it can be considered a proven technique.
Stem cells. In this emerging treatment, your doctor injects stem cells harvested from your hip into the intervertebral disc or discs causing your pain. Doing so may lessen pain and the degenerative effects of aging, though, like PRP, more research is needed before stem cells for lower back pain could eventually become the standard of care.
Acupuncture. Your doctor probably doesnt perform acupuncture , but may support you trying it as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture involves careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on your body. This may stimulate the release of your natural pain-killing chemicals.
What Is Lower Back Pain
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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Stop Looking For A Specific Diagnosis
Stop focusing on a specific diagnosis. Up to 85% of low back pain can be classified as “non-specific.” This means that the origin of your pain cannot be localized to one specific structure or problem.
While common diagnostic tests for low back pain can show the bones, discs, and joints with great detail, no test can tell the exact cause of your pain with 100% accuracy.
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.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.