How Do You Know If It Is Sciatica
The key to diagnosing sciatica is a thorough history and a focused exam. Sciatica symptoms are often worse with sitting or coughing and may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the leg. A physical exam can confirm that the sciatic nerve is involved. If there is muscle weakness or diminished reflexes in the involved leg, an imaging test such as a back MRI can be useful and help guide a decision for early surgery.
Secret #: Physical Therapy Modalities & Physical Rehabilitation
Did you know that chiropractic care and physical therapy-related treatments go hand in hand for stopping back pain? This would explain why so many chiropractic clinics offer physical therapy modalities.
Some of the physical therapy modalities your chiropractor might offer at their clinic include:
- Cold or low-power laser therapy
- TENS device therapy
- Heat and ice therapy
One study looked at the effect of ultrasound, traction, and low-power laser therapy in the treatment of back pain caused by lumbar disc herniation. These disc herniations were found using MRIs and the results of the study were confirmed with further MRIs. The study found that all three physical therapy modalities had significant effects on the herniations, providing relief to the patients.
When combined with chiropractic care and massage therapy, such as in our Alaska Back Pain Protocol, physical therapy has an even bigger impact on back pain. Weve found that this combination is the best way to relieve back pain fast.
So the sooner you seek professional treatment, the sooner you can start healing!
Secret #: Clinical Nutrition
The more we learn about how nutrition affects the body, the more it becomes apparent that its a powerful way to prevent certain causes of pain. And while changing your diet wont magically make your back pain go away, it can be a major help especially if you suffer from inflammation, as many back pain sufferers do.
However, one thing is clear: a diet composed of anti-inflammatory whole foods can do nothing but good.
Studies show that a poor diet can contribute to the expression of osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal pain, and other issues associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. It has also been shown that obese individuals are more likely to suffer from back pain than those with a lower body mass index.
For this reason, its highly beneficial for back pain and overall health to stick with an anti-inflammatory diet. Here are some staples that help reduce chronic inflammation in the body:
- Skinless chicken, omega-3 eggs, fish.
- Olive oil and coconut oil
- Ginger and turmeric
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Imaging And Blood Tests
Most people do not need additional testing however, sometimes doctors order tests to rule out a specific cause for your pain or to confirm a cause for your back pain. Your doctor may order the following.
- X-rays only show bones and can help diagnose:
- Broken bones or fractures.
- Changes due to aging.
- Changes in the alignment of the spine.
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.
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Managing Low Back Pain
Manage back pain with regular exercise and professional help as requiredIf you have an attack of lower-back pain that is severe, continuous and not improving, assessment and treatment by a health care professional who focuses on the back or other musculoskeletal problems may help. These practitioners may use both active and passive techniques to help you feel better. Examples of passive techniques that may be used to get you moving include:
An active approach, like walking or water aerobics is usually the most effective. Exercise is often the best way to relieve lower-back pain.
Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Work with an expert. It may help to work with a health professional who can explain which activities are right for you.
Choose exercises you enjoy. Many activities can help relieve back pain. Try to include activities that strengthen the muscles around your trunk, your abdominal muscles as well as those in your lower back. Studies show the following activities help relieve back pain:
- Lifting light weights
When Should You See A Doctor
Initially, lower back pain may be mild and go away on its own. However, if the pain becomes severe or does not go away, you need to see a doctor.
At first, you can try treating back pain using home remedies or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. If you dont address the symptoms, back pain can affect your normal daily activities. If you experience back pain for more than two weeks, it could be a sign that you need to see a doctor.
Signs that you need to see a doctor include:
Pain in the back after trauma
When back pain is associated with fever
Loss of control over your bladder and bowel
Loss of strength and sensation in your arms and legs
Night back pains
Pains associated with certain medical conditions, e.g., osteoporosis
You may want to see your primary care doctor for diagnosis and treatment. They might refer you to a specialist if your diagnosis is unclear or further treatment is required.
So Why Is This Happening To Me
Even if you have never had back pain before, it can seemingly spring out of nowhere and feel as if it will never go away.
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is a very common problem that will affect almost every person on earth at one time or another.
Did you know that it is the #2 reason people go to the emergency room? Its also the #1 cause of disability claims.
Some people believe that back pain is inevitable as we age, but this isnt true.
Our backs are both complicated and fascinating, but when they hurt, they really mean business!
Dont Slump Over Your Desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. Its critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
Read Also: Can Side Sleeping Cause Back Pain
How To Properly Sleep With A Pillow Under Your Stomach
- Lie on your front with your legs straight out.
- Place a pillow under your pelvis to lift your hips up and neutralize your spine. This will relieve pressure there.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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Try To Boost Your Mood
No, the lower back pain isnt in your head, but obsessing over it could be making it worse. Fear, anxiety, and catastrophizing can amplify pain, says Dr. Mackey. Because brain circuits that process pain overlap dramatically with circuits involved with emotions, panic can translate into actual pain. Start by accepting that you have pain, Dr. Mackey says. Then say to yourself, it will get better. If you struggle with overall mental wellbeingsay, you have anxiety or depressionin addition to your physical aches, it could be worth seeing a therapist to manage negative thought processes while exploring other lower back pain treatments.
Read Also: What Helps Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
Reduce Strain On Your Back
In a similar way to how back sleepers feel that strain when they lay flat on their backs, stomach sleepers will also feel that strain if they sleep in a position that doesn’t support the spine’s natural curve. Just like your body isn’t flat from your shoulders to your heels, it’s also not flat from your chest to your toes. If you place a pillow under your stomach and pelvis area to lift it a little bit, you can relieve the tension in your lower back.
Secret #: Chiropractic Massage
Who doesnt love the feelings that a nice massage brings? Did you know that studies have found that, in addition to relieving stress, it can also :
- Greatly reduce back pain
- Improve back functionality and range of movement
- Minimizes the number of days spent resting or off from work
- Offer feelings of support and being cared for
One study, a randomized control trial, found that massage therapy provided significant back pain relief for up to six months.
Another study, detailing the massage treatment of a 63-year-old man with chronic low back pain, found massage to be beneficial. The man reported improvements in 9 out of 10 criteria, allowing him to perform many daily activities that he hadnt enjoyed without pain for years!
A chiropractic massage differs from a spa massage in that the therapist performs a specific type of massage and does so under the direction of the chiropractor. Your chiropractor can inform the therapist about special areas that need attention, trigger points that need to be released, and areas that should be avoided.
Back pain, especially for those with chronic low back pain, has greatly reduced pain levels with regular massage therapy, according to studies.
Dont think of chiropractic massage as a special treat. This is a healing therapy that will help stop your back pain and is not your typical spa massage.
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How To Relieve Lower Back Pain By Sleeping With A Pillow
Improper sleeping postures can take a toll on your back. Here’s how to use a pillow to relieve lower back pain.
Hedy Phillips is a freelance lifestyle writer based in New York. While she’s not writing on topics like living on a budget and tips for city dwelling, she can usually be found at a concert or sightseeing in a new city. Over the past 10 years, her bylines have appeared in a number of publications, including POPSUGAR, Hunker, and more.
Back pain can present itself at any given time and be caused by several factors. Back pain is also one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. According to a University of Georgetown study, more than 65 million people complain to their doctors about back pain, and 8% of adults in the study report chronic back pain, or pain that lasts for weeks.
While you can see a doctor for treatment options relating to your back pain, there are some more holistic approaches you can take at home, like stretching, using a massage gun or sleeping with a pillow between your legs. For the latter, we’ll give you some tips on how this simple solution can provide some relief for back pain. That way, you’ll fall asleep in no time and stay asleep all night without experiencing any pain.
Secret #: Drs System/spinal Decompression
Unless youve been to a chiropractor before, you probably havent heard about spinal decompression. Its important to note that theres two types of spinal decompression: surgical and nonsurgical. Chiropractors never perform surgical decompression, as chiropractic care is non-invasive and extremely low-risk. Since surgery of any kind always carries a risk, its important to exhaust all nonsurgical options before you decide for spinal surgery for back pain.
Luckily, most people dont need surgery for their back pain. Especially when nonsurgical spinal decompression is so effective.
One small study of 30 patients with disc herniation and back pain found that nonsurgical spinal decompression was associated with a significant decrease in pain . The study also found that this decompression provided an increase in disc height, which is exactly what you want when undergoing spinal decompression. Compressed discs press on nerves, which can cause severe pain.
At Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab, we use the DRS system for spinal decompression. This is a safe and proven system that causes no pain and gently works to decompress the spine to take the pressure off the discs. Weve been using this protocol successfully for years, and weve been able to help several thousand Alaskans with this DRS system.
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Exercise To Loosen Muscles
Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when lower back pain is causing you grief, the right kind of movement can help eliminate the discomfort. Its always important to consult your physician before you engage in exercise when you have pain, but this conversation is well worth having if youre suffering.
First, you should keep in mind that not all exercise is beneficial in combating back pain. Try to avoid toe-touch exercises and sit-ups, which may add to the stress on your spine instead of relieving it. Leg lifts are another exercise to stay away from when you are hurting. If your core is not strong, leg lifts could be too demanding on your body if youre already experiencing pain.
Several types of exercises can be useful when you need to relieve back pain. Partial crunches can aid in strengthening your core without applying too much pressure to the area. Slow and controlled wall-sit exercises may also be useful. Other repetitions to consider include bringing each knee to the chest in succession, pelvic tilts, and swimming.
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.
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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Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Longer
When you have a restful nights sleep, your back will feel less sore during the day.7 A night of restorative sleep can have healing benefits and make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and less stressed.
Try these natural sleep aids, one at a time, to see which one works best for you:
- Vitamins C and B6. The natural steroids in your body control your metabolism and promote good sleep.8,9 Supplements of vitamins C10 and B611 are known to help the body produce and regulate natural steroid hormones.
- Melatonin. Your natural sleep hormone, melatonin can be taken as a supplement to improve your sleep cycle.
- L-theanine. An amino acid found in tea leaves, L-theanine may help some people feel relaxed and get better sleep.
- Valerian. Supplements made from the root of the valerian plant may help you sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Another option is cherry juice or cherry extractscherries contain certain enzymes that help promote better sleep.4
When Should I See A Doctor
If after trying some of the secrets in this article, your back pain becomes worse or if it lasts for more than 3 or 4 days, you should seek out the advice and help of your local chiropractor.
There are some red flags with back pain. You can read about those here.
You should also see your chiropractor if your back pain includes:
- Pain so intense you cannot sleep at night in any position
- Pain that lasts longer than a week
- Back pain that is accompanied by stomach pain
- Back pain that also includes weakness, tingling, or numbness of the arms, buttocks, legs, or feet
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