How Is Low Back Pain Treated
Treatment may include:
- A prevention program
- Assistive devices
Rehabilitation is often a part of treatment for low back pain. Generally, there are 3 phases of low back pain rehab.
- Acute phase. During this initial phase, the physiatrist and treatment team develop a plan to reduce the initial low back pain and source of inflammation. This may include using ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or specialized injections.
- Recovery phase. Once the initial pain and inflammation are better managed, the rehab team focuses on helping you return to normal daily activities while starting a specialized exercise program to regain flexibility and strength.
- Maintenance phase. In this phase, you will learn ways to prevent further injury and strain to the back. You will also learn how to start a fitness program to help further increase strength and endurance.
Is It Time For Back Surgery
Back surgery is often a last resort when all other treatment options have been tried. Surgery may be considered an option to relieve pain caused by serious musculoskeletal injuries or nerve compression resulting from vertebrae shifting or collapsing.
Back surgeries often have a long recovery period, and some patients may lose mobility and flexibility post-surgery. It is also important to note that not all surgical procedures are successful. As such, it is important for patients to talk with their physicians and know all of the risks associated with a procedure before undergoing back surgery.
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.
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Treatment Options For Lower Back Pain
If you see a physiotherapist or GP for lower back pain, they will probably encourage you to try the self-help measures outlined above first. They can also advise you on what exercises you can do to help your back, or may refer you to a group exercise programme. But if your pain doesnt improve, they may be able to recommend other options you can try. They can also refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Tips To Relieve Lower Back Pain
If you are reading this, you are probably experiencing lower back pain or know someone who is.
Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints in the world. Studies show that up to 70% of adults will experience some kind of back pain during their lives. Worldwide, back pain is the main reason for missed work days and the second most common reason to visit a doctor.
Back pain may be caused by a sprain you suffered at work or from doing chores around the house. Or, the pain may result from an injury or a chronic condition, like arthritis.
If your pain is sudden or severe, you should get checked by your doctor. But, if you are experiencing a nagging pain or discomfort, there are things you can do to relieve the pain. Here are a few things to try.
1. Move. It may be uncomfortable, but one of the best things you can do to deal with lower back pain is to move around. Get on your feet and take a walk. Whether its a brisk walk around the block or a slow stroll, walking can help to strengthen back muscles, which will improve support for the spine.
2. Stretch. Often, lower back pain results from tight muscles. Stretching can increase flexibility and loosen muscles. Yoga is excellent to keep the body limber. Stretching exercises may also help.
3. Exercise. Beyond stretching, you should exercise to strengthen your core, which provides important support for your back. Pilates and tai chi are useful for strengthening the core.
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Effortless Lumbar Pain Relief: Infrared Light Therapy
If you want to relieve your pain while you sit and work uninterrupted infrared therapy is one of your best options.
Infrared heat penetrates deep into your muscles, up to 4 cm into your tissues increasing local blood circulation and bringing pain-relieving and healing components faster.
Here are the 2 best options:
1. Shiatsu infrared heat cushion using an infrared heat cushion, combined with infrared heat is an effective way to relieve lumbar pain without interrupting your work.
For example, this low-cost cushion has 4 deep-kneading rotating nodes with soothing infrared heat and has a car adapter.
You can also get a full-back infrared heat shiatsu massage cushion see my reviews for the 3 best ones HERE.
2. Infrared heat belt this Jade stoned infrared heat belt can be wrapped around your lower back comfortably and is made of high-quality materials.
It comes with a digital controller and a timer and its perfect if you dont like massage and just want to enjoy the deeply penetrating and soothing heat to relieve your back pain.
A lower-cost option is this infrared heat belt, which delivers infrared rays via carbon fibers.
Note: do not use infrared heat belts if you are pregnant or suffer from a serious health condition without consulting with your doctor.
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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Chronic Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain is a common condition. It is defined by low back pain lasting more than six weeks. Unfortunately, a clear cause can only be found in twenty percent of cases. The rest of the time, it is believed to be due to strain on the bones and muscles of the back from heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or bad posture.
For back pain persisting longer than six weeks, it is recommended to make an appointment with a physician. Treatments may include a program of back exercises, as well as pain medicine such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen . It is also recommended to stay active and carry on with the things you usually do as much as possible, to help you recover faster. Sitting or lying still for long periods can actually make the pain worse. Your joints may become stiff which will make it harder and more painful to move your back.
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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What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
Why Does It Work
Every cell in the body uses vitamin C to defend against disease-causing inflammation, says vitamin C researcher Thomas Levy, MD. And since the primary cause of pain is inflammation, vitamin C supplements can work wonders. The caveat? Standard C is poorly absorbed by the body, he says. But liposomal C, a form where the vitamin is encased in fat, is absorbed nearly 100 percent . The outer coating of a liposome is virtually identical to the cell wall, so it can literally merge into that cell membrane and become part of it. Plus, it doesnt bring the side effects of regular vitamin C.
Barbaras experience is promising, but as always, consult your physician before adopting new treatment therapies and/or making changes to your existing pain management plan.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Womans World.
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Prevention Of Lower Back Pain
Looking after your back can help to reduce your risk of getting back pain. It can help to do the following.
- Get plenty of exercise. Keeping active with regular exercise can help to prevent back pain coming back, or reduce your risk of getting it in the first place.
- Take care with lifting and carrying heavy items. Dont lift or carry more than you can manage, and make sure youre using the right technique. This means slightly bending your back, knees and hips when lifting, rather than stooping from your back.
- Keep a good posture. If you work at a desk, make sure your chair, desk and computer screen are set up correctly. Your employer should be able to assess your workstation.
- Move regularly dont sit in the same position for long periods of time.
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.
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Overlooked Remedies For Lower Back Pain Relief
When lower back pain persists and continues to interfere with your quality of life, multiple treatment options may be needed for adequate relief. Below are some back pain treatments that are commonly overlooked or underused. Try one or more of these remedies to see which one, or combination, works best for you.
When To Use Heat For Sciatica Pain
Are you wondering does heat help nerve pain? Well, it definitely does, depending on when and how you use it. You can apply a heat pad after a majority of the sharp swelling and pain goes away. Utilizing heat therapy during this time helps promote healing.
Generally, it is ideal to apply the heating pad on your rear pelvis as the sciatic nerve roots are present in this area. You generally feel weakness, numbness and sciatic nerve pain one these roots become compressed, irritated or inflamed. These symptoms quickly travel all the way down to your leg, causing a great deal of pain.
Here are a few benefits of using heat for treating sciatica pain:
It minimizes the tightness felt in the muscles and improves your lower backs range of motion
Lowers spasm and tension in your muscles, by keeping the muscle fibers relaxed
Applying heat helps dilate the blood vessels and supplies more nutrients, oxygen and blood to promote healing
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Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain
You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.
To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
- Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.
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.
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Who Gets Back Pain
Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common medical problems. Youre more likely to experience back pain as you get older.
Many people hurt their backs when they lift, push, or pull something that’s too heavy.
You may also be at risk for back pain if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have poor posture
- Arent physically active
- Fall or have an accident
- Have a health problem that can cause back pain
The Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain When Running
Exercise 1 Goblet Squats
Why it works: squats are extremely effective in loading the muscles of the lower back. They have to contract to keep your trunk upright as you squat down. That load can make the muscles feel better in the short term and will make them stronger in the long term. Squats with barbells are also a fantastic way to load and strengthen the muscle of the back, glutes, and legs. Squats fix everything.
Exercise 2 RDL with Dumbbells
Why it works: Romanian deadlifts work the hamstring, glutes, and, you guessed it, the lower back. Dont get overly fixated on your form, but keeping the lower back flat should increase the muscle activity which should make them get stronger faster.
Exercise 3 Bird Dogs + Light Walking
Why it works: This exercise is a nice way to work the muscles of the lower back, upper back, and glutes. It can also help us build that mind-muscle connection that makes us feel comfortable when running. If our lower back hurts, its natural to want to stop moving but sometimes the best thing is to do some easy exercises and a light walk! Research suggests this is a great first step .
You can try these exercises, and even build a custom, lower back focused prehab routine in the Recover Athletics app. The Recover App helps runners fix aches and pains and prevent injury. A years subscription costs less than one trip to physical therapist and we have an unlimited free trial. Give the app a try today!
Less Common Causes Of Low Back Pain
Inflammation of the joints of the spine sometimes causes back pain. Osteoarthritis is the common form of arthritis and usually occurs in older people. Ankylosing spondylitis is another form of arthritis that can occur in young adults and which causes pain and stiffness in the lower back. Rheumatoid arthritis may affect the spine but you are likely to have other joints affected too.
Various uncommon bone disorders, tumours, infection and pressure from structures near to the spine occasionally cause low back pain .
The rest of this leaflet is mainly about nonspecific low back pain – the common type of low back pain.
Lower Back Pain Causes
Nonspecific low back pain means that the pain is not due to any specific or underlying disease that can be found. It is thought that in some cases the cause may be an over-stretch of a ligament or muscle. In other cases the cause may be a minor problem with a disc between two spinal bones , or a minor problem with a small facet joint between two vertebrae. There may be other minor problems in the structures and tissues of the lower back that result in pain. However, these causes of the pain are impossible to prove by tests. Therefore, it is usually impossible for a doctor to say exactly where the pain is coming from, or exactly what is causing the pain.
To some people, not knowing the exact cause of the pain is unsettling. However, looked at another way, many people find it reassuring to know that the diagnosis is nonspecific back pain which means there is no serious problem or disease of the back or spine.
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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.