How to Manage Back Pain
Low back pain is very common; almost everyone can expect to experience it at some point in their lives. If you have ever struggled with back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Perhaps you suffer from arthritis or you lifted something the wrong way. Caregivers in particular do lots of physical activity that can cause strain on the back. Regardless, low back pain is something that can reoccur and continue over a long period of time.
Of course, it can occur as a symptom to something serious, like an injury. In those cases, seek medical attention immediately! For mild back pain, here are some home remedies and treatments, as well as suggestions for prevention.
Back Pain Remedies
Physical Therapy & Exercise: One of the best things you can do for back pain is to keep moving. A physical therapist can help you with this by giving you specific exercises for your condition. Otherwise, staying regular with physical activity does wonders for your spine. Low impact exercises include swimming, walking, and yoga.
Ice/Heat: If your back pain is the result of a minor injury, you can apply an ice or heat pack to it. Icing a new injury is the best move for the first 48 or so, because it reduces inflammation. Only after that can you switch to heat, if you prefer it.
Over-the-counter or Prescription Medication: You might want to try an over-the-counter medicine for pain management. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory medication. Whatever the case, consult your doctor to make sure it’s right for you, especially in conjunction with other meds you may be taking.
Cortisone Injections: If the reason for your back pain is a pinched nerve, your doctor may prescribe cortisone injections around your spinal cord. This helps reduce inflammation around your nerves.
Electrical Stimulation: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a safe and painless treatment that sends a current through your skin to nerve pathways. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, TENS is meant to interrupt the pain signal to the brain.
Other Alternative Treatments: Other alternative treatments such as acupuncture and botox injections to the spine have been used to treat low back pain.
Back Pain Prevention
Stay Strong & Flexible: Aside from helping with low back pain, stretches and regular exercise can also prevent it from happening all together. With a strong and flexible body, your back muscles are better equipped to protect you.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being too heavy is a common strain on the back muscles. Maintaining a heathy body weight for your height is essential to preventing back pain.
Improve Your Posture: Slumping makes it difficult for your back to correctly support your weight. Be mindful of standing and sitting up straight. You can use tools like ergonomic chairs, low heeled shoes, and back-friendly mattresses to help with this.
Quit Smoking: Smoking cigarettes prevent the flow of oxygen to the spinal tissues. Kick the habit to increase circulation and relieve pain.