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How To Help Bad Lower Back Pain

Don’t Rest An Achy Back

5 Best Back & Core Exercises For Lower Back Pain | Sciatica Disc Bulges Lumbar Lordosis

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.

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.

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.

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History And Physical Examination

An accurate history and physical examination are essential for evaluating acute low back pain. Often, patients awaken with morning pain or develop pain after minor forward bending, twisting, or lifting. It is also important to note whether it is a first episode or a recurrent episode. Recurrent episodes usually are more painful with increased symptoms. Red flags are often used to distinguish a common, benign episode from a more significant problem that requires urgent workup and treatment .5,6,8 A recent study shows that some red flags are more important than others, and that red flags overall are poor at ruling in more serious causes of low back pain.8 Patients with back pain in the primary care setting tend to have one or more red flags, but rarely have a serious condition.8 However, physicians should be aware of the signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, major intra-abdominal pathology, infections, malignancy, and fractures . Cauda equina syndrome and infections require immediate referral. Family physicians should rely on a comprehensive clinical approach rather than solely on a checklist of red flags.

Information from references 5, 6, and 8.

What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain

5 Stretches To Prevent and Relieve Lower Back Pain in 10 ...

Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:

Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.

Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.

Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.

Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.

Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.

Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.

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How To Relieve Back Pain

The following tips may help reduce your back pain and speed up your recovery:

  • stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities this is 1 of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
  • try exercises and stretches for back pain other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
  • take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure
  • use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief you can buy these from a pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel will work just as well

Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.

Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.

But it’s a good idea to get help if:

  • the pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
  • the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
  • the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
  • you’re worried about the pain or struggling to cope

If you see a GP they will ask about your symptoms, examine your back and discuss possible treatments.

They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.

Can A Mattress Cause Back Pain

A mattress can definitely be a cause of back pain because it plays such an important role in how the body is positioned through the night. Most people know that posture is important but only think about their posture in the context of standing and sitting. This can cause them to overlook the importance of having a mattress that is the proper fit for them based on their body shape, weight, and sleeping position.

If the spine and joints arent aligned and well-cushioned during sleep, they wont be able to relax. Instead of recovering, the body will be strained, exacerbating pre-existing back issues and sowing the seeds for new ones. The easiest way to know whether a mattress is a contributing factor to back pain is if the pain tends to be the most pronounced in the morning when you wake up. If the pain is the worst when you get out of bed and subsides during the day, theres a good chance that your mattress is playing a part in your aches and pains.

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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.

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Preventing Low Back Pain

NO MORE BACK PAIN! 5 Of The Best Core Exercises For Lower Back Pain

Steps to lower your risk of back pain as you age include exercising regularly , maintaining a healthy weight, lifting with the legs and not the low back, and optimizing your workstation.

After any period of prolonged inactivity, a regimen of low-impact exercises is recommended. Speed walking, swimming, or stationary bike riding 30 minutes daily can increase muscle strength and flexibility and protect your low back from injury or strain. Frequent stretching can help loosen muscle tension, strengthen your core muscles, and improve over-all posture for a healthier back.

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    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.

    Get Enough Restorative Sleep

    Pain is a leading cause of insomniadifficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can also make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it more difficult for you to get restorative sleep.

    See Restorative Sleep Brings Back Pain Relief

    Getting enough restorative sleep is needed for the bodys tissues to heal and recharge energy levels. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to address pain or other factors that are causing it. Your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments depending on what is disrupting your sleep.

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    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.

    Avoid Adaptive Syndrome As Much As Possible:

    5 Best Exercises To Beat Back Pain

    It has been proven that sitting motionless for extended periods causes adaptive shortening syndrome, which is arguably one of the major culprits of lower back pain. Most people who sit for long periods daily have a relatively higher risk of developing back pain. Exercises have been known to counter the effects of the adaptive syndrome, and you can easily do them even in your office.

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    What Causes Back Pain

    Your spine or backbone is a complex structure that is made up of 24 small bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. Discs sit between each vertebra to act as cushions or shock absorbers and give your spine flexibility. Vertebrae are joined together by small joints called facet joints. These joints allow you to move and bend your back. A mesh of ligaments and muscles hold the spine together and provide structural support, which allows you to move.

    Back pain can originate from any of these structures, but in most cases, this pain doesnt result from any significant damage to your spine. This pain usually stems from surrounding muscles, ligaments or joints and occasionally spinal disc problems.

    For at least 9 in 10 people, back pain is not caused by any particular condition and is referred to as non-specific back pain.

    This type of back pain results from a range of different factors such as:

    Less than 1 in 100 people have back pain that is related to a serious medical problem such as cancer, infection, a spinal fracture or specific conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis. Research has also shown that you actually dont need to know the cause of back pain to treat it successfully.

    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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    Manage Or Reduce Stress

    Stress can trigger muscle tension and painful spasms, including in the back. If long-term stress or a traumatic event seems to have caused back pain, a person can try stress-relief techniques, such as:

    • Mindfulness meditation.One study showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved back pain. Mindfulness involves being aware of what the body is doing and using meditation techniques to assist with the pain.
    • Deep breathing. Taking deep breaths in and out for several minutes can calm the bodys stress response.
    • Progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and relaxing muscles in the body, focusing on one muscle group at a time. Lying on their back, a person can start with their feet and gradually move up to the shoulders.
    • Guided imagery. This involves focusing on specific mental images to bring about a feeling of relaxation. One study found guided imagery and music helps with work-related chronic stress.
    • Yoga. Yoga focuses on particular poses and breathing and can help with relaxation, especially when practiced regularly. One review found yoga to be an effective stress management tool.

    Many smartphone apps are available to guide a person through relaxation techniques and meditation.

    How Do You Stop Back Pain From Sitting Too Long

    Back Pain Exercises for Lower Back Disc Relief

    If your job involves long sitting sessions on the chair, the best way to prevent back pain is to practice the best posture, which we have discussed earlier in detail. You can also relieve back pain by incorporating exercises into your daily program. Ideally, you should not sit for too long without standing and walking for a few minutes before sitting again.

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    Take It Slow When Getting Up

    Taking it slow when you get out of bed can be beneficial. You may want to use your arms to sit up slowly before moving your legs off the side of the bed. Once you plant your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, you can stand up slowly, using your leg strength instead of your back to help you up.

    After carefully standing, you can further relieve tension by reaching your arms up above your head and stretching slowly from side to side.

    How Is Back Pain Diagnosed

    Your health professional will first assess your back pain. They may ask questions including:

    • When did your back pain begin?
    • What activities were you doing differently to normal before your back pain started?
    • How would you describe the pain? Is there tingling or numbness?
    • What makes the pain better or worse?

    If your pain doesnt settle after a few weeks or starts getting worse, ask your doctor or other health care professional about other management options. You may be referred for tests if there is reason to suspect a more serious cause for your back pain.

    In most situations, imaging such as X-ray, CT or MRI scans are not helpful unless there is an obvious injury or strain.

    Unnecessary tests can be expensive, and many investigations will show changes in your spine that reflect the normal passage of time, rather than damage to your spine.

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    Practice Back Stretching Exercises:

    Studies have proven that gentle back exercises can help alleviate any soreness in your back. Below are great light exercises that can help alleviate back pain.

    • The plank: This is a simple and straightforward exercise that involves lying on the floor with your forearms in front of you with your elbows aligned with your shoulder. After this, lift your shoulder onto your elbows and toes and hold for about fifteen seconds. Repeat three to five seconds.
    • Two-point superman: With this type of exercise, kneel on all fours, straighten your right leg behind you and raise your left arm in front of you and hold for about ten seconds. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat the whole session five times.
    • The flexor/hip stretch: Plant your feet pointing forward, two feet apart. Take a big step forward using the left foot while ensuring your right knee is as straight as possible. The further you can stretch, the more the benefits. Place your hands behind the head, with your fingers interlaced. Remain in this position for about twenty seconds. Repeat the same with the other leg. Ten such sets each day will be great to alleviate your back pain problems.

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