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 Are Sleep And Lower Back Pain Related
Researchers have long seen an association between lower back pain and sleeping problems, and growing evidence points a two-way relationship in which they can be mutually reinforcing.
Discomfort from pain can be a major barrier to sleep. Lower back pain makes it hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or may provoke nighttime awakenings when pain surges.
At the same time, people with sleep problems are more likely to start having pain or to have pain get worse. Experts arent certain why this happens, but there are several potential explanations. Sleep deprivation may impair healing, affect mood in a way that heightens pain sensitivity, or disrupt chemicals in the brain that are involved in how we experience pain.
Release Your Inner Endorphins
Endorphins are hormones made naturally in your body. What many people dont know is that endorphins may help block pain signals from registering in your brain. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all associated with chronic back pain and often make the pain worse.
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Aquatic Therapy And Whirlpools
Physical therapists often recommend aquatic therapy including exercises done in warm, therapeutic pools for back pain. The buoyancy of the water helps alleviate strain on the joints to encourage strengthening and gentle stretching of the muscles. Even floating in warm water can help relax muscles and release tension as well as increase circulation, according to the Arthritis Foundation. With home whirlpool baths, try aiming the jets directly at your sore spots for a soothing underwater massage.
What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures
Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:
Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.
Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.
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Lying On Your Side While Crossing Your Arms As You Hunch Forward Can Help
Gradually increase the extension slight fractions of an inch and hold.
Extending take several minutes to accomplish. If possible, have someone assist you in with the extension. Maintain very slow, controlled inward and outward breaths to become calm and to relax, even though you are uncomfortable.
Note: You are only trying to lengthen the muscle. Dont overstretch.
Only allow very slight increments. By increasing the length of the muscle, you will relieve that muscle. Youll also reduce the injury to the area that the muscle is trying to protect.
Alternate periods of stretching with resting pauses. Dont allow the muscle to contract during your rest phase as it may start again.
Reducing the intensity of the contraction can take anywhere from several minutes to hours if necessary. The degree of injury is a major factor. Each time that you attempt to relax and lengthen the muscle, it will try to respond by tightening up. Holding your position will help you avoid this.
If you have taken a very long time to use this tip for your pain, then please consider medical help initially. My site is loaded with lots of help for you also but you should also get your doctors support.
Good Sleep To Cure Back Pain
More often than not, practical solutions prove most effective. When it comes to recurring back pain, changing to a mattress for bad backs might do wonders for you. They are ergonomically designed to provide the best support for your spine. Throughout the night, your body repairs and rejuvenate the muscle soreness. On your end, though, you need to allow some space for this process to occur. For one, accommodate your whole body better with the right mattress by visiting this page.
Once you have a good bed, you can move on to improving your sleeping position. Most of the time, your back pain will be a result of a bad posture. Hence, you can try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees. If that also puts pressure on your spine, switch to the fetal-side position or sleep on your stomach. So, the most important thing is not to upset your back muscles too much. After the daily turmoil, they deserve some peace. Plus, you can always use more pillows to support those tensed areas.
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When Should You See A Doctor About Lower Back Pain
Back pain is common and often recedes quickly, but its important to talk with a doctor if:
- The pain began with a specific injury
- Pain continues or worsens for more than a few days
- Pain is debilitating
- Pain radiates to the legs or other parts of the body
- You experience weakness or numbness in your lower body
- There are signs of infection like redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
- You have a personal history of cancer
- You have other unexplained health changes like weight loss or urinary problems
A doctor can review your symptoms and determine the appropriate next steps for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
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Low Back Pain Treatment
Most people who have low back pain can treat it on their own. Often the pain goes away in a few days or weeks. You may need 1 to 2 days of rest for a hurt back. However, too much rest can cause your muscles to weaken. This can slow your recovery. Even if it hurts, try to walk around for a few minutes each hour. This helps keep your back muscles strong.
There are a few positions that provide relief when your back hurts. These help to take the pressure and weight off your back. Lay on your back on the floor:
- With pillows under your knees.
- With your hips and knees bent.
- With your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair.
Heating pads can help to relax painful muscle spasms. Use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Ice packs and massages may give relief as well. Over-the-counter medicines can reduce pain and swelling. These include aspirin, acetaminophen , naproxen , and ibuprofen .
People who have ongoing back problems need treatment to manage the cause. Being overweight can make back pain worse. If you are overweight, you may need to lose weight. You may need to exercise or improve your posture when you are sitting, standing, sleeping, or lifting.
Severe cases of low back pain could require physical therapy or wearing a brace to support your back. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or injections for severe pain. These prescriptions can be addictive, so its best to seek other treatment methods, if available.
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When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency
Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:
- Patient is a child
- Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
- Pain interrupts sleep
While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.
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.
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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.
Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice Daily
One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscleslocated in the back of your thighsare too tight hamstrings your lower back and sacroiliac joints will be stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day for 15-30 seconds each time.
There are many gentle stretching exercises that should not hurt.
Exercises For Low Back Pain
Exercises for low back pain involve improving flexibility and strength in the spine. Listed below are three exercises to relieve low back pain. For a longer list, check out our article on exercises for low back pain.
- Low trunk rotation: Lie on your back with knees bent. Then gently lower both knees to one side and then swing them to the other side.
- Transversus abdominis bracing: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Pull your belly button toward your spine and keep that position for 5 seconds. Then repeat.
- Side plank on knees: Lie on your side. Then prop yourself up with your forearm while keeping your knees on the ground. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
If you’re not feeling around 30% better after three weeks of physical therapy, you may need to ask your PT about a different technique, says Loren Fishman, MD, the medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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.
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How Is Back Pain Treated
Doctors treat back pain with medications, other treatments, and surgery. Medications may help relieve pain or help tense muscles relax.
In addition, your doctor may tell you to:
- Use cold packs to help lower some back pain and hot packs to increase blood flow and help you heal.
- Limit activities or exercise that cause pain or make it worse, but do not lay down all day. Slowly increase physical activity as you can.
- Get physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles that support the back.
- Move your body the right way when going about your day, especially when you lift, push, or pull something.
- Practice healthy habits such as exercising, getting regular sleep, eating a healthy diet, and quitting smoking.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if all other treatments tried have not lowered your back pain. However, surgery is not right for everyone, and your doctor will help you decide if it may be best for you.
Different types of health care providers treat back pain, depending on the cause:
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Should I See A Chiropractor For My Back Pain
Spinal manipulation is used by chiropractors and osteopathic physicians to treat low back pain in selected patients. Spinal manipulation applies hand pressure to areas of the low back to relax irritated muscle and lessen the intensity of the pain.
Traction, using pulleys and weights to lengthen and stretch the spine can result in temporary relief. Both techniques will not treat any underlying causes of back pain, but rather offer a temporary relief from lower back pain.
Put Out That Cigarette
We all know smoking is a serious health risk, and smokers are also more likely to experience back pain than nonsmokers. One reason for this is that nicotine restricts blood flow to the disks in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.
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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 .
Whats The Best Position For Sleeping
The best way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent. You may put a pillow under your head to support your neck. You also may put a pillow between your knees for added comfort. If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back. Dont sleep on your stomach unless you put a pillow under your hips.
Use a firm mattress. If your mattress is too soft, put a 1/2-inch plywood board under the mattress to add support.
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