Lower Back Pain Treatment Options
, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke . Discomfort in the lower back can be chronic or ongoing. It can also be a sudden and brief condition known as acute pain.
Causes of lower back pain include:
Treatment options for lower back pain range widely according to the cause of the condition. Read on to learn more.
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
Lower Back Pain And Cancer
Cancer involving the lumbar spine is not a common cause of back pain. However, in people who have a prior history of cancer, for example, in the breast or prostate, or who have weight loss or loss of appetite along with back pain cancer needs to be considered.
Night pain can be a clue to cancer in the spine. A benign tumor called osteoid osteoma, which most often affects young people, causes pain that tends to respond well to aspirin. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that occurs when the plasma cells in the bone marrow begin spreading uncontrollably. It is most common in older people, and can cause pain in many parts of the spine. When tumor or infection are suspected, blood tests may be ordered, including a CBC , sedimentation rate , and protein electrophoresis .
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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.
Sciatica Stretches That Will Help To Vanquish Your Low Back Pain
Your Personal PT, Rachel Tavel, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at Shift Wellness in NYC, so she knows how to get your body back on track when it’s out of line. Here, she gives you tips on how to feel better, get stronger, and train smarter.
LIVING AN ACTIVE lifestyle is a priority for just about everyone, but getting up and moving isn’t always so straightforward as it sounds. Beyond the challenge of fitting workouts into busy schedules and knowing exactly what you want to do, the body doesn’t always feel at 100 percent to perform. Take back pain, a major issue for people from all walks of life. According to 2019 CDC statistics, 39 percent of US adults reported experiencing back pain.
There are more than a few causes of this malady, some of the most common having to do with lifestylemaybe you spend too much time sitting, or your posture isn’t on point. Low back pain, one of the most common ailments physical therapists work to treat, can stem from these factors. Other causes have more definite origins, stemming from an inciting incident or injury. Sciatica, one commonly prescribed cause of back pain, is typically in the latter camp.
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Ways To Manage Low Back Pain At Home
Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments. Studies show that eight in 10 Americans have back pain at some point in their lives, usually in the lower back.
Sudden or severe back pain should be checked by a doctor or a physical therapist. That also goes for pain that wonât go away.
But sometimes you can treat nagging pain and discomfort on your own.
Wilson Ray, MD, chief of spine surgery for the Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says home remedies â tend to be better when they’re combined than alone.â
Acupuncture For Back Aches
Acupuncture is a traditional eastern medicine practice shown to reduce back pain for most people who try it. During this therapy, a trained acupuncturist inserts extremely thin needles at strategic points and varying depths throughout your body. This stimulates your central nervous system, jump-starting your bodys natural healing ability. Acupuncture may help reduce inflammation that causes chronic back pain.
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Simple Stretches To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be a debilitating and painful condition.
Fortunately, staying physically active may be the most effective and cost-efficient way to soothe or prevent it.
Here are 8 simple stretches to relieve lower back pain.
Although its origin varies, changes in the lumbar, or lower back, structure due to musculoskeletal damage are considered to be the main cause .
Your musculoskeletal system is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues that provide form, support, stability, and movement to your body.
Other muscles that play an important role in maintaining the normal curvature of your spinal column are reported to be associated with lower back pain. These include the hip flexor and hamstring muscles .
Minor lower back pain normally gets better on its own within a few days or weeks. It can be considered chronic when it persists for more than three months .
In either case, staying physically active and regularly stretching can help reduce lower back pain or prevent it from returning .
The remainder of this article provides eight stretches for lower back pain, all of which you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimal or no equipment.
Summary Lower back pain is an incredibly common condition that can be relieved or prevented with regular exercise and stretching.
The knee-to-chest stretch can help lengthen your lower back, relieving tension and pain.
To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:
Can Back Pain Be Prevented
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy
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Back Pain Treatment At Home
1. Apply Ice or Heat
It is best to apply ice within 24 to 48 hours past injury as this will reduce inflammation. Warmth can feel good by covering up pain and relaxing muscles, but this actually makes the inflammatory process worse within the first two days after injury. Instead, use ice for the first two days and choose whichever you prefer after that. Never leave ice or heat on the injured area for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Stretching both strengthens muscles that need assistance and loosens up tense ones. Keep in mind that certain stretches may reduce your back pain and others may increase it, depending on the location of the pain. Because of this, stop a stretch that leads to pain and never force a stretch. Your doctor can offer suggestions for which stretches are ideal in your situation.
3. Correct Your Posture
Sitting down over a long time can hurt your back more than you may realize. By sitting properly, however, you can reduce the negative effects. When sitting, all the bones of the spine should be lined neatly stacked on top of each other. Your keyboard should be within easy reach, with your feet on the floor flat.
4. Change How You Sleep
5. Get a Massage
This will ease tense or sore muscles. If you cant afford to get a professional massage, ask your friend or partner to give you a gentle massage.
6. Apply Rubs and Ointments
7. Take a Bath with Epsom Salt
8. Lose Excess Weight
9. Try Low-Impact Exercises
10. Use Over-the-Counter Medicines
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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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.
Best For Heated Massage Therapy: Innova Itm5900
The Innova ITM5900 comes with a vertical massage pad that spans the length of the spine. It provides targeted heat and vibration to the lower back area.
Additionally, the inversion table features a True Balance System and a six-angle pin system for an easy and safe inversion experience.
It has the following specifications:
- dimensions: 61 x 28 x 46 in
- height capacity: 4 ft 10 in to 6 ft 6 in
- features: adjustable headrest pad
Positive online reviews mention that the heating pads are comfortable and the table feels sturdy when in use. Negative reviews mention problems with the ankle pads and that the massage and heating features were not effective.
The Innova ITM5900 costs $199.95.
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Temporary Pain Relief: Ice Heat Or Both
Heat and ice both have a place in temporarily relieving back pain, says Stephens. Theyre both going to help calm down that pain signal and help relax the nervous system a little bit, he says.
Normally, with most injuries, we would counsel ice early on during the acute phase of the injury, he says.
As a general recommendation, ice the painful area with a frozen wet towel or an ice pack keeping a towel or other cloth between your skin and the cold pack to protect your skin at least three times a day. Dont apply ice for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
After a couple weeks, we would transition to using a heating agent, says Stephens. There is some research that suggests that moist heat during acute low back pain can be a useful adjunct to exercise and other interventions, he says.
Address Back Pain Sooner Not Later
If you have tried adaptations such as improving your work setup or adjusting your posture and dont have any improvement in pain within two to four weeks, you may want to seek a formal consultation with a healthcare provider or physical therapist, says Stephens.
Its not a good idea to live with pain too long physical therapists can usually be of more help if you come earlier in your pain episode, he says.
In the past, many doctors recommended bed rest for back pain, but thats no longer thought to be a good solution, says Stephens. Were pretty sure that doesnt help you get through an episode of low back pain any faster or end up with a better result, he says.
Theres nothing wrong with taking it easy for a day or two, but thats really the most that someone should be following any type of bed rest. After that, they need to try to introduce movement, because thats so important in helping tissue heal, says Stephens.
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When To Seek Medical Help:
Back pain might resolve in a few weeks in most people with adequate self-care. Nine out of ten people might recover from back pain after two months. However, if the condition gets worse, seek medical help.1Immediate medical attention is necessary in the following conditions:
- Lack of sensation in upper or lower limbs
- Loss of limb movement
- Tingling or numbness in legs
- No control of bowel or bladder
- The back pain doesnt improve even after weeks or gets worse
- Unexplained weight loss
If you have osteoporosis .1 You should not depend on home remedies alone for the treatment of back pain. You need to consult a qualified doctor for advice if the symptoms do not improve with home remedies.
Physical Therapy And Exercise
A physical therapist can apply a variety of treatments, such as heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle-release techniques, to your back muscles and soft tissues to reduce pain.
As pain improves, the therapist can teach you exercises to increase your flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve your posture. Regular use of these techniques can help keep pain from returning.
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Natural Remedies For Back Pain Relief
Back pain treatment may involve medication or, in some cases, surgery. But natural remedies for back pain, such as exercise, spinal manipulation, and massage, are among the top recommendations for both acute and chronic cases.
While some are supported by research and included in clinical practice guidelines, other natural remedies for back pain have more anecdotal than scientific evidence to back them.
If you’re interested in using a natural remedy for back pain relief, you might consider one of the following popular options. Some of them may offer relief for mild to moderate discomfort, particularly when part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Back Pain Relief At Home
Most of the time, you can care for lower back pain at home. Try these things to help your back no medication or procedures required.
Dont assume that you should stay in bed until your back feels better.
Avoiding exercise can make back pain worse, Dr. Bolash says.
Patients who rest often fare worse. Try to keep moving and walking around as usual. Movement relieves pain and strengthens your muscles, helping you prevent a future episode of pain.
But dont resume the activity that initially caused the injury until your pain is gone. Once your back feels better, you can ease back into lifting or strenuous exercise, but do it gradually. If you do too much too quickly, you could end up sidelined with back pain all over again.
Use heat or ice for back pain relief
If your pain has just started, consider applying cold packs. The cooling can help decrease swelling and inflammation, Dr. Bolash says. Cold packs can also provide relief by numbing some of the painful nerves.
If swelling or inflammation is subsiding but youre still in pain, consider that some people find a heating pad or a hot bath to be the best thing for back pain, and theres some evidence that it works. Moist heat, like you would get in a hot shower, bath or with a moist heat pack, may work better than dry heat.
Do some yoga
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