Treating Lower Back Pain

Some of the best lower back pain treatments and relief may be simpler and easier than expected. While lower pain can be excruciating, and lead to other physical and mental issues such as depression, it can often be treated at home without a prescription.

According to WebMD (2011), lower back pain due to overuse, strain, or injury; aging; herniated disc; arthritis; compression fractures; illness; or birth defect can cause a range of symptoms and pain. Pain may be dull or sharp and can be pin pointed in a small area or affect a broad area. Other symptoms can include muscle spasms. These symptoms can be alleviated or treated with some basic first aid. One of the first steps to take in alleviating back pain is to rest for a day or two. Giving your body time to rest and repair itself might be the best cure possible but get active as soon as possible. Walking is one of the best exercises for the lower back and improves lower back injuries due to increased blood flow and muscle strengthening.

Lower back pain treatment is meant to return you back to previous health and physical ability. Effective treatment not only returns you and your body back to functioning order, but is to prevent further and reoccurring injury. However, with the pain and swelling that often accompanies lower back injury, moving off the couch can even seem impossible!  Pain can be handled with a combination of over-the-counter drugs or, if pain cannot be managed with over-the-counters, with medications prescribed by your doctor. There are also anti-inflammatory over-the-counters that may help improve movement. As previously stated, giving your body time to rest and recover is important, but no more than one or two days. It is important that individuals suffering from lower back pain return to regular activities as soon as possible. Using light exercises with low impact on the lower back muscles and vertebrae that help strengthen the abdominal muscles and core is one of the most effective ways to speed up recovery. 

If over-the-counter drugs and light exercise are not working to completely manage and relieve lower back pain there are other options you may pursue. Massage helps increase blood flow to swollen muscles and may help relax and relieve pain when dealing with lower back pain. Another option is spinal manipulation by a licensed practitioner and, finally, acupuncture. These methods are not effective for everyone so some trial-and-error may be necessary to find a treatment that works for your injury. If your lower back pain persists after two weeks of self-care ask your doctor for advice, they may be able to prescribe stronger pain medication or suggest physical therapy.

While all of these treatments are for after lower back injury has already occurred, often times the best cure for an injury is prevention. In order to help keep your back working properly and to prevent more pain, it is important that you practice good posture when you sit, stand, and walk. It is also important to get regular, low-impact exercise that can include walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bike. Remember, it is imperative that you stretch before exercise.

More great advice is to wear supportive, low-heeled footwear and sleep on a medium-firm mattress on your side to put the least amount of stress on your back. Avoid extra stress on your back by watching your weight. Also, learn to properly lift heavy objects and never lift things that are too heavy for you.

Those that sit or stand at work for long periods of time are particularly prone to lower back injuries. This is due to a weakening of the core and lower back muscles from lack of proper exercise. If you fall into this category make sure your chair has good back support and take regular breaks to walk around. Another work scenario where back injury is common is in a position that requires a lot of bending, reaching, and lifting. In this case, it is again important to know how to lift properly. “Don’t depend on a ‘back belt’ to protect your back. Studies have not shown these belts to be effective in reducing back injuries. The most they can do is to help remind you to use good techniques for lifting” (WebMD, 2011).

Lower back pain can be debilitating if left untreated. However, with the advice of your physician and effective exercise and at home treatment back pain can be managed or cured all together.

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