Lower back pain can be caused by several factors ranging from arthritis, wrong bending, a nerve problem, or lifting something a little too heavy. Low back pain is a common occurrence that most people will experience at some point in their lives.
Back pain treatments range from simple to complex, and the right treatment depends on the location/severity of pain, how long you’ve been hurting, and whether your pain is structural or muscular.
However, there are some effective home remedies you can do before you consult your doctor.
Home remedies for back pain
Use ice and heat pack
You can use an ice pack for the first 48 hours after the onset of the pain, and put it to use for 20 minutes a session, several sessions per day. After those two days are behind you, switch to 20-minute intervals with a heating pad. According to Lisa DeStefano, an associate professor at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, confined cooling shuts down capillaries and reduces blood flow to the area. This helps ease the swelling.
Use supportive shoes
Some women whose feet roll inward when they walk (pronation) might be prone to lower back pain, according to a recent study in the journal Rheumatology. Orthotics can be used to correct this problem.
Get a new mattress
Most people are unaware that the average life span of a mattress is less than 10 years, says Sean Mackey, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University.
Mackey says if your mattress is sagging significantly or is more than 6 to 8 years old, you ought to replace it with a new one. Also, a firm mattress may not be too good for your back. A number of studies over the years suggest that people with lower back pain should sleep on medium-firm mattresses.
Take anti-inflammatory drugs
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help ease low back pain. However, you must avoid prolonged use that exceeds 10 days as this can lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Exercises and stretches
You can ease your spine and prevent muscle pain by doing gentle stretches, walking, occasionally standing up at your desk, and even yoga. A 2013 review of studies found strong evidence that yoga, particularly the viniyoga, can help ease lower back pain.
- Muscle relaxants:Your doctor may prescribe a medication that eases painful back spasms if over-the-counter drugs proves abortive in eliminating pain. Side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
- Topical pain meds:These creams and ointments are meant to be applied directly on to the area where you are feeling pain.
- Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures are ineffective, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory.
A physical therapist will teach you stretches to manage your back pain, as well as exercises to correct any imbalances that might have brought on pain in the first place.
- Acupuncture: According to a 2013 review, acupuncture may be more effective than painkillers. In 11 studies of more than 1,100 people, this Chinese medicine staple improved symptoms of lower back pain better than simulated treatments. The needles appear to change the way your nerves react and may reduce inflammation around joints.
- Massage: People who got weekly massage had less lower back pain and disability after 10 weeks, compared with the control group, according to a study. So, get a structural massage targeted at specific parts of the body to ease low back pain. Osteopathic and chiropractic therapies—in which joints and muscles get stretched and repositioned—have been shown to also be effective.
When to consult your doctor
You should consult your doctor if your back pain persists after four to six weeks. Your doc will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. You may be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and you may be sent for x-ray, MRI, or other imaging tests.
Image source: painhealth.com
Article sources: www.prevention.com, emedicinehealth.com
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