Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From 111 If:
You have back pain and:
- a high temperature
- you’ve lost weight without trying to
- there’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
- the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- the pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back , rather than your lower back
What Is Low Back Pain
is pain that can occur anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. It is very common. Almost everyone has it at one time or another.
Low back pain can be:
- Acute. This is new pain that can last a few days to a few weeksat the most a few months.
- Chronic. This pain can last for more than a few months. Sometimes it can last for years.
You Dont Have To Live With Back Pain
Back pain is a common problem for baby boomers and can be caused by a variety of factors. However, by following the simple tips provided in this article, you can help to prevent back pain and keep your spine healthy.
Good posture habits, stretching exercises, spinal stabilization exercises, and good lifting techniques are essential for keeping your back strong and flexible.
Do you live with back pain? What do you do about it? Do you take medications, or do you use exercise and posture techniques or maybe both? What have you learned about back pain in your own life journey?
Let’s Have a Conversation!
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Hot And Cold Treatments
Many people have found that hot and cold treatments help relieve back pain. You might try both to find out which works better for you. Heat relaxes muscles and soothes painful areas. There are many ways to apply heat. Some people like hot showers or baths, while others prefer using heat lamps, heating pads or warm compresses. If you have arthritis, heating your muscles first might make it easier for you to do back exercises. Be sure not to fall asleep while using heat. Cold has a numbing effect. This often helps relieve pain. You might try one of these methods for applying cold:
- an ice bag
- a large ice cube used to massage the area
- a frozen package of vegetables
- a commercially made cold pack.
- Be sure not to leave ice on after the skin becomes numb. This could lead to localized frostbite. Do not use cold if you are especially sensitive to it or
- have decreased circulation or sensation. Read the pain management article for more information about heat and cold.
What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
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Sleep On A Quality Mattress
Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection. To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, its a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.
If your lower back pain doesnt improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should see your doctor. You also should contact your doctor right away if you have any red flags, including:
- A history of cancer or a recent infection
- A recent fall or other accident
- Extreme fatigue
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sweats
- Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
Other options for treating lower back pain may include physical therapy, pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, its not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.
Download the Virtua Health Guide to Back Pain, or call to request a consultation with a Virtua back pain specialist.
What Are Some Integrative Therapies And Healing Practices To Consider For Low Back Pain
Low back pain most often results from a combination of physical, mental, and emotional factors.
Many people suffering from low back pain have started using integrative therapies: in a 2003 NIH survey, 54 percent of individuals with back or neck pain report using these therapies annually. An integrative approach works well with low back pain, not only to relieve or eliminate immediate pain, but to reduce long-term recurrence and minimize physical limitations.
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When Can I Get Back To My Normal Activities
Talk to your healthcare provider about a timeline regarding when you can get back to daily activities. You may need to take time off work to rest, or you may be able to go as long as you follow your providers recommended treatments. Dont guess about when youll be ready confirm it with your provider.
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.
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Take Regular Breaks To Move About
Another way you can avoid making your back pain worse is by ensuring you take regular breaks to move about. You need to rest your body if youve been very active for a period or, as is more often the case for most of us, do some activity to stretch and exercise if youve been sitting or standing in place for an extended period.
While having quick breaks to go to the bathroom or grab some food or drink will help, also be sure to take longer periods, such as 15 to 30 minutes or more, to move. Do some yoga or other stretches, complete body-weight exercises , hit the gym, take a walk, or climb stairs, among other things.
Avoid doing anything too active where you risk hurting your back further, such as contact sports or anything where you could fall. Regular, gentle exercise will help back muscles stay more limber and less likely to seize up.
How To Take Care Of Your Back
IntroductionYour back is your body’s key support. Without it, standing, walking or sitting is impossible. Many people unknowingly abuse their backs when they don’t think about the proper way of doing things like lifting, moving, standing or sitting.
Even a simple movement like picking up a pencil could hurt the back if done incorrectly. The resulting disability or pain could make it difficult to care for yourself, work, play or sleep.
Back PainFour out of five adults at one time or another experience back pain. It is second only to headaches in causing pain and second to cold symptoms in sending people to the doctor’s office. Recent studies indicate that less than 15 percent of back pain cases are the result of a structural problem such as a ruptured disc, arthritis or tumors. In most cases, the problem arises from an imbalance of the musculature surrounding the spine, or abnormal positions or posture. Knowing and understanding these causes can help you learn to care for your back correctly and maintain good health.
Causes of Back Pain
Poor posture – Bad posture strains the neck and lower back, making it more vulnerable to injury and even inhibiting the normal functioning of the internal organs.
Lack of exercise – Not enough exercise accounts for weak and flabby muscles that cannot support the body.
Overweight – Extra weight adds to the strain on your spine and muscles.
Back Sprains – Pain occurs when the muscles in your back are used improperly.
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.
More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.
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Get Support When You Need It
- Let people know when you need a helping hand. Get family members or friends to help out with tasks you can’t do right now.
- Be honest with your doctor about how the pain affects you.
- If you’ve had to take time off work, talk to your doctor and boss about a gradual return-to-work plan. Find out if there are other ways you could do your job to avoid hurting your back again.
Key Points About Low Back Pain
- Specific treatment for low back pain depends on the cause of the pain and the severity. But it often includes pain medicines and muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and assistive devices such as a back support. It also may include lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, weight loss, and increased physical activity.
- A back rehab program may be used as part of the treatment for low back pain.
- Measures to prevent back pain include using safe lifting techniques, maintaining correct posture, staying at a healthy weight, not smoking, and reducing stress.
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How To Use Integrative Therapies And Healing Practices In Back Pain
Many people who suffer from back pain experience either chronic, persistent pain, or chronic pain with occasional episodes of acute pain. Because long term use of oral medications is not optimally effective and has risks of side-effects and dependence, you should consider alternative strategies.
To help reduce acute aggravations and avoid additional pain, it is important to have a maintenance/prevention plan. This should include a regular exercise program with stretching, strength training, and endurance and aerobic activities. Yoga is a good base activity for many people.
Maintaining a healthy weight is an important practice for preventing and maintaining back pain since it decreases the stress on your muscles.
With these behaviors and relationships as a foundation, you should be well positioned to respond to an aggravation or acute flare, should that occur.
What Can I Do About Acute Back Or Neck Pain
The key to recovering from acute back or neck pain is restricting your activity and taking over the counter medications, because most back pain is related to muscle strain. In most cases, acute back pain will go away on its own over a period of days. Here are some tips that will help you recover:
1. Take it easy If you think you’ve hurt your back, ease up on the pressure you’re putting on your back. Many people actually have little choice in the mattertheir back pain will force them to drop to their knees or “freeze” in a bent-over position. Others will be able to function somewhat normally, but with uncomfortable pain. Contrary to popular belief, studies on acute back pain actually show that a few days of restricting your activity, and taking the appropriate over-the-counter medication, is all that many people really need to allow the strained muscles to relax and unbind. However, it is important to talk with your health care provider before taking any medication, especially if you are taking other medications or have a chronic medical condition.
2. Ice, then heat Remember this rule: “Ice first for 48 hours, then heat.” Ice and heat can alleviate local pain that comes from muscle and ligament strain. Ice slows swelling and inflammation and acts as a local anesthetic, but after 48 hours, it loses its effect. Using heat afterwards increases blood flow to the deep tissues and relaxes muscle spasms.
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Try Not To Miss Out On Too Much Sleep
Upgrading your bed setup should help you sleep better most nights, even when your back hurts. In turn, you should notice that your overall pain levels stay lower. Getting enough sleep is vital in pain management since everything can hurt a lot more if were fatigued. To boost your sleep, ensure you have a bedroom with blackout blinds so you dont get woken up too early by light streaming in, keep windows closed and use double glazing to stop noise from interrupting your nights.
Plus, keep the temperature just right to sleep comfortably, and consider keeping pets out of your bedroom. This way, they wont disturb you when youre resting or cause an accumulation of pet hair on and around your bed to create irritants, further exacerbating sleep issues.
Seek Chiropractic Care For Your Back Pain
Chiropractic is often considered to be the best solution for lower back pain, neck pain, and other injuries typical in auto accidents.
It helps people who have had their back injured in car accidents in various ways.
With chiropractic, your overall recovery will occur in a faster and safer way compared to the alternatives, such as surgery or opiates.
This is because chiropractors work to heal the source of your pain.
Chiropractic care doesn’t include the use of painkillers, so you can rest assured that you are getting better without the risk of addiction or any of the other adverse side effects that come with painkillers.
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How To Take Care Of Back Pain After A Car Accident In Atlanta
Approximately 30% of all car accident injuries seen in emergency departments involve back strains and spinal injuries.
And, after what seemed like a simple fender bender, many people think they’ve made it out without any injuries.
But even a small rear-end collision can result in back pain that causes trouble for years on end that isn’t noticeable right away.
An Atlanta car accident chiropractor should investigate any back pain after a car accident so you can be sure you haven’t suffered life-changing injuries.
However, if your pain is the result of whiplash or a minor back injury, there are things you can do to reduce pain while the injury heals.
In the article below, we will discuss how you can take care of your back pain after a car accident.
Back Care: First Line Treatments
Initial pain management techniques may include a combination of:
- A short period of rest, limited to one or two days, in which strenuous activity is minimized and excess pressure is kept off the spine. Sitting in a reclined position, with the legs supported and elevated is typically a comfortable position that minimizes stress on the lower back.
- Over-the-counter pain medication, including NSAIDs or acetaminophen. Popular brand names include Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve.
- Application of ice or a cold pack to the lower back to decrease local inflammation, which often accompanies back pain as a response to injury. Ice is typically recommended within the first 48 hours of the onset of pain. It is important to avoid direct application of ice to the skin .
- Application of heat to ease muscle tension, relieve muscle spasms, and increase oxygenated blood flow to the area to facilitate healing. Most of the time, heat works best when used after the first 48 hours of back pain.
- Small adjustments to posture or daily activities that take pressure off the spine. For example, move carefully and/or with assistance from a sitting to a standing position, and take frequent short walks, as tolerated, to maintain a healthy blood flow and reduce stiffness.
After a short rest period, it is recommended that patients stay active, as too much rest can add to stiffness and discomfort.
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