How to beat back pain
About 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. And when back pain strikes, it can leave you, well, flat on your back. Maybe it came on suddenly because you lifted something heavy. Or you’ve been sitting more than usual and you’re stiff and sore. If you have back pain, here are some common treatments you can try. Speak with your doctor about which treatment may be right for you.
Rest first, but then get moving. Resting can help a recent injury or strain that causes back pain. But staying in bed a day or two can actually make back pain worse. The best thing for your back is gentle exercise, such as walking or stretching. Try to get moving as soon as you can.
Use over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicine — with caution. Medicine, such as OTC pain relievers, prescription muscle relaxants and narcotics can reduce pain and inflammation. But even OTC medicines have side effects. And long-term use or misuse of prescription opioids can lead to dependency. Because pain killers mask your pain, they can also make it hard to get to the cause of your pain.
Consider complementary or alternative care. Chiropractic treatment and acupuncture are two non-surgical, non-traditional medical therapies that may help. Chiropractic treatment is based on the theory that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure will enable the body to heal itself. Acupuncture is an ancient practice that involves placing thin needles in specific areas of the body to help with pain relief.
Get physical therapy. Physical therapists (PTs) look at your physical needs and guide your therapy to help you move and function better. Treatment may include exercises or stretches guided by your therapist, massage, heat or cold therapy, or ultrasound to ease muscle pain or spasms.
Sources: webmd.com; mayoclinic.org; National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.