Treating Chronic Back Pain
There are two main types of back pain treatments short-term and long-term. Short-term treatments are like a temporary patch, theyll help you manage your pain for a set period of time, but the pain will eventually return. The goal of long-term back pain treatments is to provide lasting relief. Both types of treatments have their purpose.
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.
Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery
Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.
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Sleeping And Lying Down
- Select a firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your mattress. You can also place the mattress on the floor temporarily if necessary.
- If you’ve always slept on a soft surface, it may be more painful to change to a hard surface. Try to do what is most comfortable for you.
- Use a back support at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may be helpful.
- Use a firm pillow that supports the curve of your neck.
- Do not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest.
- When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.
What Is Low Back Pain
Low back pain may be dull and aching or sharp and stabbing. The pain may be mild or severe, and you may feel tingling or burning. You may also have pain in your legs.
You may feel stiff, and it may be hard to stand up straight or move your lower back. Low back pain can make it hard to do your daily activities.
- Acute low back pain lasts for 4 weeks or less
- Subacute low back pain lasts between 4 weeks and 12 weeks
- Chronic low back pain lasts for 12 weeks or longer
Often, it is hard to know the exact cause of low back pain. There are many possible causes. One possible cause is a strain or tear in the muscles or ligaments that support your back. Low back pain can also be caused by a muscle spasm in your back.
Your health care professional may talk with you about your history of low back pain and may do a physical exam. Both can help rule out any serious conditions that may be causing your low back pain .
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Bonus Tip: Soothe The Pain With Cold And/or Hot
Don’t underestimate the pain reduction of simply applying cold packs and/or hot packs to help reduce your lower back pain.
- Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain. Some examples include wrapping ice in a cloth, a pack of frozen peas from the freezer, or a cold gel pack. Always keep at least one layer between your skin and the ice/cold pack.
- Heat therapy helps improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. Heat therapy can come in many forms. It’s best to try several to find what works best for you. Taking a warm bath or shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heating pad or heat wrap are all ways to bring warmth to your lower back.
Whether applying ice or a heat pack, limit applications to 15 or 20 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to protect your skin. Never sleep with a heating pad or frozen pack as this can lead to permanent skin damage.
Hopefully these overlooked remedies can help you try some new approaches to better manage your lower back pain and find lasting relief.
Precautions On How To Get Rid Of Hemorrhoids
A common concern is that hemorrhoids increase the risk of colorectal cancer, but thats not true. However, the two conditions do cause similar symptoms. This is why its important to mention your hemorrhoids to your health care provider. Even when a hemorrhoid is healed completely, a colonoscopy may be done to rule out other causes of rectal bleeding. According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons , every person age 50 and older should undergo a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer.
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Dont Sit For Long Periods Of Time
Our bodies are not designed for sitting for long periods of time. Sitting is not only linked to many health problems, but it also wreaks havoc on your lower back.
While many people must sit because of desk jobs, there are steps you can take to limit the damage done to your lower back, and the best position to sit with a herniated disc, including:
- Get up and stretch or walk every 30-60 minutes. Set a timer if you must!
- Use a standing desk
- Use a yoga ball or kneeling chair instead of a regular office chair
- Walk on your breaks, rather than sit in the cafeteria
- Walk, pace, or just stand up when making phone calls or talking with coworkers
You might not be able to avoid sitting at your job, but you dont have to ruin your back in exchange!
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Treatment Of Back Pain
Doctors treat back pain with various options, including medications, nonsurgical treatments, and surgical treatments.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs taken by mouth to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Muscle relaxants for some types of chronic back pain from muscle tension.
- Anti-inflammatory or numbing injections for certain types of back pain that radiates or travels due to nerve compression or irritation.
- Prescription pain relievers for severe acute back pain.
- Use cold packs to help relieve some back pain and hot packs to increase blood flow and promote healing in the muscles and tissues of the back.
- Avoid bedrest instead, limit activities or exercise that cause pain. Gradually increase physical activity as tolerated.
- Get physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles that support the back, which can improve mobility, posture, and positioning. Strengthening exercises can also help decrease pain. Check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise routine.
- Lifestyle changes teach you to:
- Move your body properly when performing daily activities, especially those involving heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling. Avoid any activities that cause or increase pain.
- Practice healthy habits such as exercise, relaxation, regular sleep, healthy diet, and quitting smoking.
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Get A Backrub With Medicated Ayurvedic Oil
Ayurveda recommends getting a backrub with mahanarayana taila, which is a medicinal formulation containing sesame oil, milk, and a multitude of beneficial herbs like bilva, ashwagandha, brihati, and shatavari. According to ayurveda, if you have a vata or pitta body type, you should lightly rub the oil over the affected area. Those with a kapha body type should get a deeper massage.7
How Is Low Back Pain Treated
There are many treatment options for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain.
- Medicine: Your health care professional may suggest a medicine to reduce pain and swelling or to relax your muscles.
- Most medicines are taken by mouth, but some are given as a shot or through an IV tube in your arm.
- Some medicines are available over the counter, and for some you need a prescription.
Low back pain often improves in 4 weeks or less. In some cases, it may take 12 weeks or more for low back pain to improve. For many people, low back pain improves without specific treatment.
The tables below list some treatments for acute low back pain and subacute low back pain . The tables also list what researchers have found about how well the treatments work to reduce pain. For some of the treatments, there is also research on how well the treatments help you return to your daily activities.Nonmedicine Treatments for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain
|Acetaminophen||A type of medicine to reduce painNote: Acetaminophen is different from NSAIDs in that it only reduces pain and does not reduce swelling.||Acetaminophen does not appear to reduce pain, but more research is needed to know this for sure.|
What about other treatments that are not listed in this summary?
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Avoid Prolonged Static Posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.
What Are The Causes Of External Hemorrhoids
The most common cause of hemorrhoids is repeated straining while having a bowel movement. This is often caused by severe cases of constipation or diarrhea. Straining gets in the way of blood flow into and out of the area. This results in the pooling of blood and enlargement of the vessels in that area.
Pregnant women may also be at an increased risk of hemorrhoids because of the pressure that the uterus places on these veins.
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Home Remedies: Relief From Hemorrhoids
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Every few months, I develop hemorrhoids that are quite painful, but, after a few days, they seem to go away on their own. Is there a way to avoid getting them altogether? Do I need to see my doctor the next time the hemorrhoids return?
ANSWER: Hemorrhoids are quite common, and they often follow the pattern you describe. Making some lifestyle changes may lower your chances of developing hemorrhoids. But, if those changes arent enough to keep them from coming back, and the hemorrhoids cause you considerable discomfort, then consider making an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation to see if treatment may be necessary.
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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Swimming Is A Better Exercise In The Back Pain
When you are dealing with back pain, it can be challenging to find workouts that do not make the condition worse. In many circumstances, low-impact activities are ideal, as they exert minimal pressure and strain on an already-sore portion of your body. Swimming is among the finest workouts you can undertake if you are looking for a low-impact exercise. Dr. Mohana Rao, the founder of Dr. Raos Hospital a world-class neurology hospital in Andhra Pradesh, adds that the buoyancy of floating on water basically means there is less possibility of stressing your muscles. Water also provides terrific resistance that can strengthen your muscles without creating more pain.
Being Mindful Of Your Movements
How many times has someone told you to lift with your legs, not with your back? Though its almost become cliché, its good advice. Your lower back supports a lot of the function of your body. Even if you lift using correct posture most of the time, a few haphazard hoists can be all it takes to cause long-term pain.
For example, parents with small children will lean over and pick them up out of a crib several times a day. Once or twice might not put much strain on the back, but repeating this movement hundreds or thousands of times over the years can cause serious discomfort. Mind those movements today, and your back will be more forgiving in the future.
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Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
Facts And Figures About Lower Back Pain
- Both men and women commonly develop back pain, however some research shows women tend to have more recurrent symptoms.
- Overweight adults who dont exercise and have other health issues are at the highest risk for back pains.
- The incidence of low back pain is highest in someones 30s, and overall prevalence increases with age until the 6065 age group, at which point it seems to decline.
- Globally, back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work days and the second most common reason for doctor office visits. Its estimated that around 13 million people go to the doctor for chronic back pain every year.
- Approximately 2.4 million Americans are chronically disabled due to back problems. At any given time, around 2.4 million adults are temporarily disabled.
- Studies show that back pain symptoms tend to come back. The rate of recurrence at one year ranges from 24 percent to 80 percent depending on the group.
- Americans spend at least $50 billion each year to help diagnose and treat various lower back pain symptoms.
- Back pain can be both acute and chronic . About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain that winds up lasting more than one year.
- The majority of lower back pain cases are caused by irritation/inflammation of five spinal vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are also rooted to the spinal cord, which can cause radiating pain downward or outward.
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Ways To Ease Low Back Pain
Just because it’s possible to inherit low back pain doesn’t mean the matter is completely out of your control. “It’s how we’re born and how we take care of ourselves,” Wisneski says.
If you sit in an uncomfortable chair all day, work a jackhammer, or regularly twist your body into uncomfortable positions, your lower back will suffer for it. Smoking — the bad habit that increases the risk of dozens of diseases — can also lead to backaches. One study found that smokers are nearly a third more likely to have low back pain compared to nonsmokers.
Try these five tips to prevent or ease lower back pain:
- If you smoke, get help to kick the habit.
- Practice good posture whenever you sit or stand. When lifting something, lift with your knees, not with your back.
- Do exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your back — especially the abdominals, hips, back, and pelvic area. Developing strong core muscles can make a big difference in how you feel. “When my abs are in good shape and I’m well worked out, I’m the least susceptible,” Snyder says.
- Fight the urge to crawl into bed whenever your lower back acts up. “Our bodies are meant to be used,” Wisneski says. “If you have pain, sometimes you develop a âdisease of disuse.â”
- See your doctor and get treated for low back pain early on, so you can stay moving and keep active.
Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chairman emeritus, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.