Too many people know the excruciating, debilitating horror of back pain. Whether it’s turning too fast, lifting a heavy box with the incorrect posture, or just the gift of aging that keeps on giving, back pain can rear its ugly head at any time. Here are some helpful ways to relieve back pain fast.
Heat & Ice
There are some easy to do steps to get your pain under control. A common and effective type of treatment is to apply hot or cold to the injured area. As a general rule, you will want to apply cold for the first 24 – 72 hours, for no more than 20 minutes at a time. The cold can decrease your swelling and inflammation which may decrease your pain. If you use cold packs, make sure to put a towel between your skin and the packs.
If you suffer from chronic back pain you may need to alternate between applying hot and cold. The good news is that you can use a heating pad and some ice packs to get the job done. While cold can reduce the inflammation, the heat can warm up and relax your muscles. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to how to apply or alternate these treatments so don’t be afraid of some trial and error to find what works best for you.
There is a wide array of medications that can be used to reduce back pain. Common over the counter pain medications include Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve. The primary ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen. Tylenol is generally effective for pain relief but taking high doses long term can cause damage to your liver. Advil and Motrin both use Ibuprofen as the primary active ingredient. Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory properties but can be hard on the stomach and is relatively short lived. It stays in your system for around 4 to 6 hours. Aleve’s active ingredient is Naproxen. Naproxen is similar to Ibuprofen in that it can be hard on the stomach but it also stays in your system for approximately 8 to 12 hours. All of these choices are easily available at any neighborhood drug store and can give you relief fairly quickly.
If you have frequent bouts of back pain, you have hopefully consulted with a physician. He or she may have prescribed you any number of medications to help. These could include muscle relaxers, narcotics, or injections. These types of medications should only be taken under the careful guidance of an experienced physician.
When you are in pain, the last thing you may want to do is exercise, but it can help. Tight muscles and tendons can create tension and pain signals. This is where stretching can help. Gently stretching reduces muscle tension and improves the range of motion and mobility. It is important to stretch only if it does not cause or worsen your pain. You will want to ease into a stretch and hold your position. Repeat your stretch two to five times for the maximum benefit.
Think about your car and how it can be damaged without the right nutrients such as oil. Your body is pretty similar. If you don’t fuel up with the proper nutrients and vitamins your bones, muscles, and tissue don’t get the nourishment that they need. This can result in deficiencies and pain. A simple fix is to start taking a daily multivitamin and change your eating habits. Switch out unhealthy treats for fruits and make leafy greens and other vegetables part of your daily routine. Make sure you are getting enough calcium as well. You’d be amazed at how quickly small steps can make a big difference.
Occasionally, the thing your body needs the most is rest. A little bedrest can do a body good but it’s important to not get carried away. Resting the body for a few hours at a time and then some light activity is optimal. This routine should only be used for a day or two. When you are lying down make sure your position relieves your back strain, using pillows to prop up your head or knees if necessary.
It’s easy to forget how much our emotional and physical health are entwined. If you are mentally or emotionally upset, it can cause poor posture and tension throughout your head, neck, shoulders, and spine. Some of the best medicine for your physical health is to de-stress. Walking, talking to a trusted friend, listening to your favorite music, find healthy ways to reduce your stress levels and be amazed at how your pain decreases as well.
These are all tips to help you deal with back pain the moment it happens but it is important to be proactive about pain as well. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or the occasional flare-up, working with an experienced medical team can help prevent future discomfort. Whether it is small changes to your lifestyle, carefully managed medication or physical therapy, there are many ways we can help you eliminate back pain. If you suffer from spinal issues, contact our office today. Together, we will achieve your best quality of life.