Back pain is a common problem for most people at some point in their lives. Constant back pain can be a big interruption in one’s daily life and extreme back pain can be debilitating to the point of severely restricting movement. If this sounds like you, you don’t have to life like this. It’s time to take action.
We’re not suggesting that pain killers will fix your back pain, but they should be able to take the edge off enough to get you to a doctor and have the issue formally diagnosed. There are several brands of OTC painkillers that can ease back pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen can give mild relief. Tylenol is also a good choice and there are some medications that come in the form of a topical cream. Medications that may be prescribed by your doctor for relief include muscle relaxants, corticosteroids, colchicine, and even opioids in extreme cases (although effectiveness is highly debated).
Back pain, even acute back pain, often stems from muscle weakness that compromises the strength of the spine. According to American Family Physician, physical therapists often recommend the McKenzie method or spine stabilization exercises for the treatment of low back pain. Other techniques like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, mobilization, and chiropractic manipulations can also help. Physical therapy has been shown to decrease pain, disability, and risk of recurrence.
Sometimes back pain is caused when one of your nerves gets pinched or trapped between the bone or disc material of your spine. Sometimes this can be alleviated through chiropractic work and/or physical therapy. Other times the only way to free the trapped nerve is through surgery. According to the BioSpine Institute, a laminectomy (also known as decompression surgery) is where extra space is created in your spinal canal to relieve pressure on your spinal cord. This is done when bony overgrowths have occurred in the spinal canal. Laminectomies carry the same risks as any other surgery but are generally a safe procedure.
Some people develop back pain as a result of excessive stress. If you suspect this may be you, make sure you take some time to destress and take care of yourself. Yoga and meditation are both great for relieving stress, and yoga can help you stretch out your back. You should also make sure you are eating properly and getting all the nutrients that you need so you have the energy to tackle your problems.
Not all acute back pain has a dangerous or even significant root cause. In fact, most often back pain is just that: pain. And in the cases where it is something more, doctors and physical therapists may do everything they can, but without effort on the part of the patient, even the best treatments will fail. Stay as active as possible (using the pain to gauge your limits), avoid twisting and bending, use correct lifting techniques, and the injury may heal on its own.