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HomeHurtWhat To Do When Your Lower Back Hurts Really Bad

What To Do When Your Lower Back Hurts Really Bad

Dont Perform Certain Exercises

Lower back pain after lifting a heavy object – What to do about it?

If you are involved in sports, you should immediately stop playing until your back heals or until your chiropractor gives you the OK to continue. Walking, swimming and low-impact aerobics are all back-friendly exercises you can enjoy.

Lower back pain exercises you should avoid include:

  • Toe touches
  • Running
  • Lifting weights

What Causes Low Back Pain

It might develop suddenly, like after you lift something heavy. Or it might come on slowly.

As you get older, the structure of your back begins to show wear and tear. Doctors call it âspondylosis,â which means your spineâs joints, disks, and vertebrae get worse over time. This slow decline can lead to many problems, like the following:

  • Strains. This means you overstretch or tear your tendons or muscle. You can do this by twisting, lifting something thatâs too heavy, or lifting something the wrong way.
  • Degenerated disks. When these are healthy, they cushion your back as you bend, flex, and twist. As disks begin to wear out, they no longer absorb the shock of these movements well.
  • Herniated or ruptured disks. Normal disks are rubbery. When they become squeezed, a portion bulges out between your vertebrae.
  • Radiculopathy. A spinal nerve can become pinched or inflamed. This can cause low back pain to travel down your legs. It can also cause numbness or tingling.
  • Sciatica. This is the type of radiculopathy that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from your butt down the backs of your legs. When itâs inflamed, you may feel burning or pain like an electrical shock that may go all the way down to your feet.
  • Spondylolisthesis. In this condition, a vertebra slips out of place and pinches spinal nerves.
  • Spinal stenosis. Your spinal column may narrow over time, putting pressure on your nerves. Your legs may feel numb and grow weaker.

Dont Sleep On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is the worst possible position when you have low back pain. Sleeping in this position will put the most amount of pressure on your neck and lower back. If sleeping on your stomach is a habit, try sewing a tennis ball into the front of a shirt or your pajama top to prevent you from turning on your stomach in your sleep.

The best position will be sleeping on your side or on your back. Be certain that you have a good, supportive pillow. If you sleep on your side, you might want to put a very flat pillow between your knees to help align your spine.

Pillows dont last forever! If yours is more than three years old, it is probably time for a new one. Your mattress will also make a big difference when it comes to back pain. What is the best mattress for your back anyway?

Also Check: How To Describe Back Pain

Is Lower Right Or Left Back Pain Worrisome

Pain on one side of the back is not particularly more worrisome than central pain. There are three main kinds of one-sided back pain:

  • Back pain that could occur on either side, but just happens to be on the right or the left exclusively. This is very common. Most ordinary back pain dominates one side of the back.
  • Back pain that comes specifically from structures that exist only on one side. This is a small category.
  • Most of the anatomy of the low back and abdomen is symmetrical. Some of the guts are not symmetrical, and only some of those is a plausible cause of back pain on one side. Heres some of the key anatomy to consider:

    The side of the pain on its own doesnt tell us much, and most of the one-sided sources of pain are viscera that usually cause abdominal pain instead of back pain, or in addition to it. In other words, the only reason to worry about right or left lower back pain is if it is otherwise worrisome: if you have other red flags or significant non-back symptoms.

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    Beware Of Negative Heels

    Magnesium for a bad back, nerve pain and sore muscles ...

    Non-orthopedic flip-flops, while not good for your feet, are acceptable for a quick walk down the block or at the beach, but they arent recommended all-day footwear, especially if you already experience back pain.

    Fu explains that most flip-flops effectively lower your heel below your toes, creating a negative heel. Although she notes that they do offer some cushion, she labels it a false sense of cushioning, because the sole of a flip-flop is typically not thick enough to absorb the shock of each step.

    House slippers present all the same issues as flip-flops which Butts refers to as the worst thing for your back but of course few people are wearing slippers while out and about. So as long as youre wearing slippers only in the house, you dont need to worry too much about them.

    Fu cautions against anything thats a negative heel. That includes flat types of loafers and ballerina-type shoes with a very flat sole. These type of shoes will rotate your pelvis in a way that can worsen back pain, she says.

    Also Check: How To Self Treat Lower Back Pain

    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.

    Questions To Ask The Doctor About Medications:

    • What will the medication do?
    • How long will it take before I notice results?
    • What is the name of the medication? Is there a generic brand?
    • Are there side effects I should know about?
    • How should I take the medication ?
    • How often should I take the medication?
    • What should I do if I forget to take a dose at the specified time?
    • Let your doctor know if you are taking other medications. Sometimes certain medications cannot be taken together.

    Recommended Reading: How To Cope With Back Pain

    Change Up Your Sleep Position Or Mattress

    Switching to a more supportive sleep position can reduce lower back pain. Also consider how you can use pillows or invest in a new mattress to support better spinal alignment and relieve lower back pain.

    Research suggests medium firm mattresses are the best mattresses for back pain. In one study of people with low back pain, those who slept on medium firm mattresses reported lower pain scores both during sleep and upon getting up in the morning.

    What Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain Actually Work

    How To Do Ab Work Without Hurting Your Neck Or Back

    Unless youve had a major injury, such as a fall or car accident, you probably dont need to rush to the doctor for back pain. You may want to try these simple self-care strategies first.

    Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed actually experienced more pain and recovered more slowly than patients who stayed fairly active

    Use ice and/or heat. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time helps reduce pain and swelling. Always wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin towel before putting it on your body so you dont injure your skin. You may also find that heat, such as a heating pad or warm bath, eases pain. Ice is recommended in the first 48 hours after injury then you can try a combo of ice and heat.

    Try over-the-counter remedies. Short-term use of OTC pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, may ease your lower back pain. Also consider OTC creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin. They stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain.

    Read Also: What Causes Mid Back Pain On Left Side

    Minimalist Shoes Usually Not Recommended

    Minimalist shoes sometimes called barefoot shoes because of their very thin soles are not good for your back, says Fu. Those who already have back issues typically find these types of shoes do not help alleviate those problems and may cause some back pain.

    Again, these shoes will rotate the pelvis differently than shoes with a thicker sole. For what its worth, Butts notes that when it comes to wearing minimalist shoes, its up to each person to decide whats comfortable for them.

    How Do I Go Back To Moving And Living Pain

    You were moving pain-free before and you will again. Below is our step-by-step approach to follow right when the pain hits:

    Relax the muscles in spasm. This is achieved by first finding a position of comfort and then applying an external stimulus such as heat , an electrical unit, or massage. Muscle relaxant medication should be the last resort since it has a global effect and may impair our next step.

    • For some people, stretching or compressing the muscles can also help them to relax. The positions below should offer almost immediate relief. Its important to immediately discontinue the stretch if it increases your pain.

    Reactivate the spinal stabilizer muscles. The muscles that go into spasm typically create motion rather than stability, which is why its so painful for them to suddenly become stabilizers theyre not designed for it. To prevent the muscle spasms from coming back, you need to reactivate the muscles designed to provide stability. There are many exercises that can achieve this stability. Heres a good example of one below that doesnt require any equipment.

    • A movement pattern that is too easily lost but extremely important for protecting your back is the hip hinge pictured below. Instead of hinging through your spine or relying on your back muscles to hold you up when you bend forward, this strategy places the load through the much larger hip joints and stronger hamstring muscles. It may require practice to master but is well worth the effort.

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    Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem

    The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.

    What Are Some Less Invasive Or Noninvasive Back Pain Treatments

    When Should You See a Physician About Back Pain?

    Your doctor has a wide range of treatments that may help your lower back pain. In general, expect your doctor to take a stepped care approach. That means starting with simple, low-cost treatments and moving to more aggressive approaches later. Keep in mind that many treatments take time to reach their full effect.

    Medications. When over-the-counter pills and topicals dont do enough to relieve back pain, your doctor may recommend a prescription drug. Examples include:

    • Antiseizure medication, such gabapentin or pregabalin, for nerve-related pain
    • Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen or carisoprodol
    • Prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, diclofenac, or fenoprofen
    • Opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, on a short-term basis.

    Physical therapy . PT for lower back pain involves passive and active therapies to help the patient build core muscle strength, improve spinal flexibility and range of motion, correct posture and more. Your physical therapy sessions may include:

    Injections. An epidural steroid injection or a selective nerve block may provide short-term pain relief when lower back pain causes sciatica symptoms, such as leg pain.

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    Sandals With Arch Support

    Generally speaking, sandals and flip-flops dont provide a lot of support. But special, orthopedic-style sandals are an exception, says Fu. These do provide a proper amount of arch support, says Butts.

    If you love sandals as daily footwear, a podiatrist should be able to help you identify which types would be best for you.

    Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain

    Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.

    Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.

    Also Check: What Dr Do You See For Back Pain

    Ask About Prescription Medications

    If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:

    • Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
    • Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
    • Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.

    You Can Fix This Chronic Problem Once And For All

    Why does my lower back hurt so bad?

    Although it may seem easy to fix , many of us assume that the solution is also simple. We subsequently look for easy solutions only to feel disappointed or to believe that our particular solution is not possible.

    This is simply not the case. Back pain is complex, with many factors and the process to overcome it should be viewed as a step-by-step and multifaceted one.

    To be able to address it, first, begin with what is required to keep your lumbar spine healthy and what causes it to suffer chronic pain.

    The lumbar spine consists of your lumbar vertebrae, vertebral discs, interconnecting facet joints, a complex nervous supply that travels in between each vertebra, soft tissue, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

    Also Check: What Is The Treatment For Herniated Disc In Lower Back

    Do Seek Out Chiropractic Care

    What is the best treatment for low back pain? Hands down, its chiropractic care! Even if you have severe back pain, comprehensive chiropractic care is your best option for quick pain relief and fast healing. Studies show that chiropractic care is the most effective way to deal with low back pain.

    Your chiropractor will do a thorough exam, take imaging, such as x-rays, and discuss your medical history, as well as the days leading up to this episode of back pain.

    Depending on the results, the doctor will most likely do some very gentle spinal manipulations, order a massage, and possibly use other physical modalities such as:

    • Ultrasound
    • TENS unit
    • Spinal decompression

    Chiropractors use non-invasive, holistic techniques that allow your body to heal naturally and returns your spine to the proper position.

    Can back pain cause a fever? Yes, and it is especially important to see your chiropractor if you have back pain along with a fever. If you have never been to a chiropractor before and feel nervous, you are in for a big surprise. Adjustments dont hurt, and you will feel better almost immediately. You can find out more about what adjustments feel like in this article.

    What Are Some Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain

    The shape of your spine, and well as spinal diseases, are other culprits in lower back pain. Depending on a range of factors, your doctor may look for:

    Abnormal spinal curvature. A normal spine resembles a gently curved letter S when seen from the side. Abnormal curves include:

    • Lordosis, in which the spine curves too far inward at the lower back
    • Kyphosis, in which the spine is abnormally rounded in the upper back
    • Scoliosis, in which the spine curves from side to side, often in a C shape

    Normal and abnormal curves of the spineArthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, many of which can cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

    Cauda equina syndrome . Compression of the bundle of nerves that forms below the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. It is a rare but serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention and possibly emergency surgery. CES got its name from the fact that the fanned-out bundle of nerves resembles the base of a horses tail.

    Discitis or osteomyelitis.Both infections of discs and bone can cause severe pain and require prompt medical attention.

    Spinal tumors. When cells divide and multiply unchecked, the result is a tumor. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause lower back pain. They can either originate in the spine or metastasize there, meaning theyve spread from somewhere else in the body.

    Recommended Reading: How To Handle Lower Back Pain

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