Back pain is a common medical condition in America, affecting millions of people. You may develop lower back pain in Northern Virginia, due to strenuous activity, including lifting heavy objects. Many times back pain gets better after several weeks. However, chronic back pain caused by underlying medical conditions such as arthritis may persist and limit your productivity. Fortunately, you can prevent, manage and treat back pain with the help of your specialist.
How Is Back Pain Treated?
Treatment for back pain may vary for different individuals as it is based on diagnostic results. Your doctor may recommend self-care practices for you to observe at home, over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and in rare cases, surgery.
Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain:
Hot or Cold Compresses
Applying ice may help reduce inflammation and swelling. You may use cold compresses after engaging in activity to prevent irritation. Avoid applying ice cubes directly on your skin, as this may cause tissue damage. Heat improves blood circulation and relaxes stiff muscles. You may use an electric or chemical heating pad, hot water bottle, a warm bath, or adhesive heat wraps.
Limit Your Activities
Rest is vital as it helps reduce your back pain. However, it is essential to remain active as you avoid activities that aggravate the pain. For example, avoid chores that require you to stand for long hours, like cleaning dishes, as this may worsen the pain. On the other hand, if your job requires you to sit for too long, take breaks between every 30 minutes to one hour. This will prevent or minimize muscle spasms and facilitate healing.
· Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen may help reduce back pain. However, it is essential that you take these drugs as prescribed by your physician as misuse and overdose may cause severe side effects.
· Your doctor may suggest that you apply topical creams, ointment, or patches on your skin to minimize back pain.
· If the pain does not improve with pain relievers, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to stop muscle spasms and reduce back pain. However, you may experience side effects such as dizziness.
· Your doctor may prescribe narcotics such as hydrocodone for a short period. However, it is not advisable to use narcotics for chronic pain as long-term use may cause brain impairment.
Physical therapy involves exercises to strengthen your back muscles and improve your flexibility.
Examples of These Exercises Include:
The muscles in your hips, lower back, buttocks, and legs, – hamstring muscles, support the weight of your upper body. Stretching these muscles increases your flexibility and, as a result, prevents back injuries. Your therapist may advise you to begin with light stretches for a few seconds and stop if you experience pain.
Low-impact exercises include walking, using stationary bikes, or treadmills. These physical activities facilitate better blood circulation in your body and support faster healing from an injury. This will also help you to remain functional and active when pain flares. When spinal structures remain immobile for a long time, they become stiff, worsening the pain.
Schedule a session with your doctor at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists to learn more about other treatment options for back pain, including cortisone shots and radiofrequency neurotomy.