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What Should I Use For Back Pain

Lower Body Or Reverse Plank

Lower Back Pain? DONT STRETCH! (What You Should Do Instead)
  • Sit with your legs out in front of you and lean back. Your back should be at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
  • Place your hands by your sides with the palms facing down. Your arms should be in line with your shoulders and slightly behind your hips.
  • Look up at the ceiling and lift your hips while supporting your weight on your hands and heels. Tighten your core and glutes, keeping your body straight.
  • Hold the position for 10â15 seconds before lowering your body.

What To Look For In A Mattress

Your mattress matters too.

Doctors used to recommend very firm orthopedic mattresses to people with lower back pain. But dont go out and buy one just yet. Recent surveys have shown that people who use extremely firm mattresses may have the poorest sleep.

That said, a mattress thats too soft wont help very much with alignment.

If you have the funds to buy something new, try choosing a firm or medium-firm mattress made with good-quality innersprings or foam. You may also improve the innerspring mattress you already own by adding a memory foam mattress topper.

It may be difficult to tell if that mattress at the store really feels comfortable after only a few minutes of testing. Some companies let you test out a mattress over a set period of time and then return it if its not for you.

Not in the market right now? You can see if a firmer mattress would help you by placing an inexpensive plywood board under your current mattress. You can even place your mattress on the floor to see if lessening the movement of the springs helps with your pain.

Try Conservative Measures First To Control Pain And Know The Limits And Risks Of Cortisone Shots If You Choose To Try It

Most people who suffer with back pain already know the drill: time heals this wound. Over weeks to months, the pain will calm down, and you will slowly return to your normal life. In the meantime, try to stay as active as possible and rely as much as possible on over-the-counter pain relievers to help avoid needing cortisone shots. Doctors call these shots corticosteroid injections.

But for some, these conservative measures may not relieve the agony soon enoughespecially if the problem is back pain caused by irritated spinal nerves. After a few weeks, just getting to the bathroom may start to feel like Napoleon’s winter march in Russia. At that point, you may be offered a cortisone injection to calm the war zone in your lower back.

Even for nerve-related back pain, guidelines discourage hasty intervention with cortisone shots. “You would do less invasive, less aggressive things first,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, Corresponding Faculty, Harvard Medical School.

However, if you choose to take a cortisone shot, know its limits. “The shots are almost always a temporary measure,” Dr. Shmerling says. “In general, it’s for symptom control, and not a definitive treatment for most conditions

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What To Expect From A Cortisone Injection

If the cortisone shot works, you’ll certainly be grateful for the relief, but success is not guaranteed. In studies of large groups of back pain sufferers, the benefit is small to none on average. It’s hard to predict what you, individually, will experience.

Corticosteroid injections do not change the course of a chronic back pain condition. Months down the road, you will generally end up in the same condition as if you never got the shot. In the meantime, the shot could ease your discomfort.

Traction Ultrasound And Tens

Back Pain: Should I Use Ice or Heat?

If your back pain doesnt respond to conventional treatments, you may need to consider alternative options.

Traction uses a system of weights to align your spine and possibly help slipped discs move back into place.

Ultrasound involves massaging the soft tissues around your back injury with sound waves that warm the muscles, causing them to relax and heal more quickly.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is electronic stimulation of the nerves through electrodes placed on your skin.

The electricity blocks pain signals that travel through the nerve paths.

Ask your doctor about these treatment methods.

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What To Look For In A Pillow

Your pillow should cradle your head and neck and help to support the upper portion of your spine.

If you sleep on your back, your pillow should completely fill the space between your neck and the mattress. If you sleep on your side, try using a thicker pillow to keep your head in line with the rest of your body in this position.

Whatever you do, dont place your pillow under your shoulders.

For back sleepers: You may do best with thinner pillows and those that have extra padding in the bottom to support the neck.

Memory foam is a good material that molds specifically to your own neck.

A water pillow is another option that gives firm, all-over support.

For stomach sleepers: You should aim to use the thinnest pillow possible or no pillow at all. In fact, you may try sleeping on your side while holding a body pillow. The body pillow will give you the feeling of something against your stomach while helping to align the rest of your body.

For side sleepers: You may want to look for a firm pillow. Better yet, try to find one that has an extra-wide gusset that will help with the space between your ear and shoulder. And dont forget to place a firm pillow between your knees. You may even substitute a rolled towel.

While youre at it, remember to change your pillow every 18 months or so. Those pillow protectors can be a good barrier, but pillows still hold lots of allergy triggers like mold and dust mites.

Back Pain And Pregnancy

Back pain during each trimester of your pregnancy can be common, and several causes are to blame. However, you should be sure to talk with your doctor about what youre experiencing, in case the pain may be part of a bigger problem.

Here are a few reasons why you may be experiencing back pain during pregnancy:

Shifting center of gravity

As your baby grows, the center of your bodys gravity moves outward. Your spine and back arch to make up for the change in balance. This put extra stress on the lower lumbar spine.

Weight gain

Weight gain can be a healthy part of pregnancy, but even the little bit youre likely to gain during those 9 months can put more stress on your back and core muscles.

Hormones

As your body prepares to deliver the baby, it releases hormones that loosen the ligaments that stabilize your pelvis and lumbar spine. These same hormones can cause the bones in your spine to shift, which may lead to discomfort and pain.

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What Can I Do To Relieve My Lower Back Pain

There are many options for relieving lower back pain depending on the cause, severity, and duration of the pain. For some patients medications or treatments such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and epidural steroid injections can help. Others see specialists like chiropractors, physical therapists, or pain management physicians. Each patients needs are different. A great first step is seeing your primary care provider.

How Do You Get Rid Of Back Pain Fast

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The quickest way to get rid of back pain is with over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs, like as ibuprofen and aspirin. If your back pain is due to a new injury or inflammation you can apply light pressure with ice to the area until you are able to seek medical attention. This will reduce the swelling and pain until further treatment is available.

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What Are The Best Natural Ways To Treat Lower Back Pain

Turmeric is a popular natural remedy for lower back pain. The roots anti-inflammatory properties may reduce joint pain and inflammation. Use caution if you’re taking prescription medications known to thin blood. They could interact with this supplement. Another natural treatment is applying ice directly to the affected area to reduce swelling.

Related Resources For Lower Back Pain

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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

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How Can Back Pain Be Prevented

In most cases, you can prevent back pain by making changes to your lifestyle.

Doing exercise helps to keep your back flexible and strong. Exercise improves your posture and helps your muscles to support your spine. Exercises that can help prevent back pain include:

  • low-impact aerobic exercise
  • strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights, climbing stairs or hiking hills
  • stretching exercises, such as Pilates and yoga

Maintaining a good posture is important when you sit at home, in your workplace, or in your car. Try not to slouch, and use equipment that supports your back, such as a lumbar support or footstool if you need.

Keeping a healthy weight is also important. Excess fat can strain your back and lead to back pain, sciatica and inflammation.

Practise safe lifting in your home or workplace. Whenever you pick up a heavy load, squat down, hold the object close to your body, and lift with your legs.

In addition:

  • Quit smoking Smoking increases your chances of developing persistent back pain.
  • Relax Learning relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help to reduce stress and muscle tension in your back.
  • Avoid high heels wearing high heels can place strain on your back.

Find Activities That Make You Happy

Should I Use Ice or Heat for Back Pain?

Ongoing back pain can wreak havoc on your life, affecting your cherished relationships, finances, and your ability to get stuff done at work and at home. Finding activities that make you happy can help reduce some stress and may relieve some pain.

Some people find that even doing just 3 things that make them feel good each daysuch as enjoying a comforting cup of tea or coffee, calling an old friend, walking the dog, or receiving a longish 30-second hug from a loved onecan make pain more tolerable.

Even something as simple as laughter with a friend may stimulate feel-good endorphins.1, 2

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When To Not Use Heat Or Cold For Your Lower Back

There are some conditions and situations that should not be treated with heat or cold therapy. For example:

  • These therapies must not be used on open wounds, bleeds, or when there is any fluid oozing out of the painful region.
  • If you have certain chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, poor circulation, spinal cord injuries, diabetes mellitus, and/or rheumatoid arthritis, it is advised to avoid heat therapy. Heat in these conditions may cause excessive burns, skin ulceration, and/or increased inflammation.1

It is also advisable to avoid laying directly on the heat source due to the risk of burns, skin damage, or permanent changes in skin color. A protective barrier such as a cloth or towel may be used between your skin and the source of heat.

In general, many people feel heat therapy works better to relieve their lower back pain compared to cold. Also, taking oral pain-relieving drugs while using these therapies may have an added effect on the overall pain relief.2

Hot Or Cold For Back Pain

Q.Which is best for pain and stiffness from a sore backheat or cold?

A. When choosing between heat and cold, you may be a better judge than your doctor. Nerve fibers that carry pain sensation also sense change in temperature. As a result, stimulating the nerves with either heat or cold can diminish your discomfort, so you can choose which one to try. Both may ease your pain.

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  • Research health conditions
  • Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

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Other Causes Of Back Pain

There are many other potential causes of back pain, but most are rare. Be sure to see a doctor if you experience regular back pain that does not go away.

After ruling out the more common causes of back pain, your doctor will perform tests to determine if you have a rarer cause. These can :

Back pain can have many symptoms, including:

  • a dull, aching sensation in the lower back
  • a stabbing or shooting pain that can radiate down the leg to the foot
  • an inability to stand up straight without pain
  • a decreased range of motion and reduced ability to flex the back

The symptoms of back pain, if due to strain or misuse, are usually short lived but can last for days or weeks.

Back pain is chronic when symptoms have been present for 3 months.

Look Into Getting A New Mattress

How to Fix Lower Back Pain off to the Side

How old is your bed? You may be surprised to learn that the average life span of a mattress is less than 10 years. Theres no hard-and-fast rule, says Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University, but if your mattress is sagging significantly or is more than six to eight years old, Id think about getting a new one.

Something else to consider: A firm mattress may not do your back any favors, says Carmen R. Green, MD, a physician at the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center. A number of studies over the years suggest that people with lower back pain who sleep on medium-firm mattresses do better than those with firm beds, she says.

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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.

Your might have sprained it while working in the yard or cleaning house. Or your back might hurt from an old sports injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.

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

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.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain

Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:

Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.

Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.

Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.

Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.

Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.

Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.

Stop Trying Passive Treatments

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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.

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