Lower back pain is a very common medical concern, especially at a time where working from home and in different environments has caused Sciatica in many. Chronic lower back pain can range from a constant dull ache to frequent, sudden sharp pain. Causes can be diverse, because the pain can originate in muscles, nerves, bones or any combination of the three. Physicians classify back pain using three causes and three categories.
Understanding these categories can help you recognize what’s causing your pain, so you can experience back pain relief. If you are just beginning to notice lower back pain, there are a few things you can do to help reduce or prevent further pain.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
One of the most common questions people ask is, “Will it help if I get a different mattress?” While you will come across people who swear by their mattress, in general, the best solution is whatever allows you to enjoy a good night’s sleep. When you sleep soundly and avoid tossing and turning, you soothe strained muscles and inflamed joints. Experiment with this. Typically, a medium-firm mattress is better than a firm one, but sleeping positions tends to make the biggest difference. Try several different positions and find the one that works best for you.
Practice Better Posture
Poor posture can be a result of back pain, but it can also be a cause. Slouching or sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to worsening lower back pain. When seated, don’t slump. Sit upright, shoulders back, feet flat on the floor, with your body against the back of the chair. For additional support, place a pillow between your lower back and your seat.
Regular Low-Impact Exercise
When your back starts hurting, the tendency is to “rest up” and “wait it out.” But, instead of back pain relief, resting a sore back can sometimes prolong or worsen the pain. Extended rest will weaken the muscles supporting your back, resulting in additional stress on an already sore back. If you are experiencing lower back pain, don’t rest more than a day or two. Instead, try some low-impact exercises. Begin by stretching every morning, when you wake up, and in the evening, just before bed. As you feel stronger, add walking, swimming or low-impact exercise like yoga to your daily routine.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The simplest solutions are all too often the ones we skip. If you’re carrying extra weight, think about how much additional stress and strain that puts on your muscles and bones. Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight might sound simple, but it can be very difficult, requiring a long-term commitment. It can be helpful to contact a nutritionist or personal trainer or to join a support group that can keep you motivated and encouraged. Keep in mind; while change can be tough, getting to a healthier weight can go a long way toward relieving chronic lower back pain.
Apply Heat and Cold
If you recently suffered an injury that is causing you lower back pain, applying ice and heat may help reduce pain and inflammation. Do this several times per day, about 30 minutes each time. For the first few days, try an ice pack, using a towel or a t-shirt to protect your skin. After that, switch to a heating pad to relax your muscles. Warm baths or hot tubs are other options. Remember, never sleep with a heating pad.
If proper rest and exercise are not doing the trick, you may consider medication. Some effective over-the-counter medications include acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Understand, pain medication will only mask the pain. It will not solve the underlying cause. Even standard over-the counter drugs can affect people in different ways, so always consult with your physician before beginning a medicine regimen.
Seek Real Back Pain Relief without Surgery
If you’ve tried all of that and you still have not experienced real back pain relief, there are better options. Many successful medical pain relief treatments don’t require surgery or pharmaceutical drugs. Our office specializes in non-surgical pain relief using proven, state-of-the-art medical procedures.
To find out more about your options and to see which ones may work best for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Mike Skaliy today.