Tips for Treating Back Pain

Back pain is very common, affecting perhaps 8 of 10 people according to some studies. If you are experiencing this type of pain, you may worry that it is serious or permanent, but the chances are it’s just a transient pain that you can alleviate with a few basic tips.

Short-Term Fixes

Don’t Just Fight through

Pain is a signal that something is wrong. If you ignore that signal, you can make it go from bad to worse. Stop what you’re doing and take a rest. You may be tempted to go to your favorite couch or easy chair, but don’t just flop down. Try lying on the floor.

If that’s not comfortable, set yourself up on the couch, but don’t just lie flat. Use pillows to prop yourself so that your legs are at an 80-90° angle.

See a Doctor if You Experience:

There are some symptoms that indicate a major problem. These include

  • Electric pains radiating down legs

  • Numbness in crotch or legs

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Don’t ignore these symptoms.

OTC NSAIDs

Any over-the-counter pain medication is helpful for eliminating pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) also help reduce inflammation, which can help you get over pain more quickly. For maximum relief in the short term, you can alternate an NSAID with acetaminophen, but don’t exceed recommended doses—especially of acetaminophen—without talking to a doctor.

Heat and/or Cold

Applying cold to the area is recommended during the first 24-48 hours. After that, heat may be more soothing.

Stretches

One good stretches to help reduce back pain are the 90-90 stretch. To perform this lie down flat on the floor with your upper legs up straight, but your knees bent 90° and your lower legs flat on a chair or other horizontal surface. You might also try the belly hang. Get on your hands and knees with your elbows straight. Let your belly sag to stretch out your back.

Long-Term Fixes

Ergonomic Workspace

If you’re spending a significant part of your day slouched in a poor position, it’s going to put you at increased risk of lower back pain. Try to set up a good workspace and use helpful posture during the day.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is damaging to many tissues, including your muscles and cartilage in the back. Giving up smoking can help you with many chronic health problems.

Lose Weight

Carrying around extra weight puts stress on your back. Try losing weight to help reduce or eliminate back pain.

Exercise and Strengthen

Next, introduce more physical activity in your day. Don’t just exercise your back and abdominal muscles. Your muscles work as a team, and it’s important you make sure everyone on the team is capable of doing their part.

The proper approach to applying these long-term fixes varies depending on your current condition and pain. Talk to your primary care doctor about the right ones for you.

Please contact Dr. Andy Fine in Littleton today for help treating your chronic lower back pain.

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