Lower back pain is remarkably common in adults, especially those aged 30 to 50, according to NINDS (the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).
If you experience pain in the lower back, it can be either chronic and ongoing, or a brief and limited outbreak of acute pain.
There are many causes of lower back pain including:
- Muscle spasms and pulls
- Nerve irritation
- Spinal abnormalities (slipped disc or spinal stenosis)
How you treat back pain depends to a large extent on the cause of the condition, but today we’ll look at some generally accepted treatments to relieve back pain.
7 Ways To Relieve Back Pain
Treatment options for back pain range widely according to the cause of the condition. Read on to learn more.
1. Don’t overlook the importance of rest
2. Heat or ice can both work well to soothe back pain
3. Try OTC medications if necessary
4. Your doctor might suggest prescription drugs for back pain
5. Exercise can help some forms of back pain
6. Ultrasound and traction
7. Alternative medicine can be effective for some
1) Don’t overlook the importance of rest
If you start experiencing back pain for the first time, try resting to see if this lessens or soothes the pain. If the pain isn’t too severe, you could simply cut back on your activity for a few days. See what effect this has.
You shouldn’t use bed rest to treat lower back pain except for very brief periods. Lengthier periods of inactivity can lead to your muscles weakening.
Lying on your back using a pillow propped under your knees will help keep your back in the neutral position you need to mitigate back pain.
For short-term pain relief, try lying down with your knees angled at 90 degrees onto a chair.
2) Heat or ice can both work well to soothe back pain
NINDS suggests that both heat and ice therapy can work to treat back pain. Hot or cold compresses can help to reduce pain and increase mobility.
Place a bag of ice covered with a towel on the tender area of your lower back. This will serve to lessen inflammation. Repeat as required throughout the day, but limit each session of ice therapy to 20 minutes.
After a couple of days of cold therapy, switch to a heat pad or a warm bath. The warmth will help loosen any tight muscles responsible for your back pain.
3) Try OTC medications if necessary
If rest, heat therapy, and cold therapy don’t work, you could consider over-the-counter pain medication.
Naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can effectively reduce swelling and soother the pain associated with muscle-related lower back issues.
OYC medication is unlikely to work if you have symptoms stemming from disc problems or nerve compression.
4) Your doctor might suggest prescription drugs for back pain
If OTC analgesics don’t work, your doctor may prescribe stronger prescription pills to soothe lower back pain not helped by OTC medications.
Narcotics like codeine, anticonvulsant drugs, and even antidepressants can be utilized for lower back pain treatment.
If you have nerve pain like sciatica, corticosteroids can be injected to soothe inflammation. These are taken orally, injected intramuscularly, or injected under fluoroscopy in the form of epidural steroid injections.
5) Exercise can help some forms of back pain
Physical activity can help you to recover more rapidly from some forms of lower back pain.
Try some core exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles and the muscles in your back supporting your spine. The stronger these muscles are, the less likely you’ll be afflicted by back pain.
Yoga can help develop your flexibility while also improving your posture.
Swimming and walking also support back health. The inbuilt benefit is the way exercise is a key part of weight management, so you’ll avoid putting undue pressure on your joints.
6) Ultrasound and traction
If your back pain is not responding to conventional treatments, there are alternative options to explore.
With traction, your spine is aligned using a system of weights. This can sometimes help slipped discs to move back into place.
With ultrasound, the soft tissues surrounding your back injury are massaged with sound waves. This warms the muscles so they relax and heal quicker.
7) Alternative medicine can be effective for some
Some people turn to alternative forms of medicine like acupuncture and chiropractic care when all else fails to remedy lower back pain.
Chiropractors work on realigning the spine along with any other injured or weak areas in the musculoskeletal system.
The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture uses the manipulation of pressure points to treat illnesses and conditions like lower back pain.
What To Do Next
If your lower back pain is severe, you should contact your healthcare provider. You should also speak with your doctor if your back pain doesn’t disappear after a few days.
You should also consult a doctor if your back pain hurts when you’re at rest or when you’re lying down.
It’s also essential to seek medical guidance if you experience any numbness or weakness in your legs, or if you experience problems walking or standing.
If you’ve already tried treating your pain without much success, why not contact a pain specialist in Arizona to get you back on track?