Back pain is the leading cause of disability among people throughout the world, according to the American Chiropractic Association. It costs Americans a minimum of $50 billion dollars in health-care costs each year. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments and steps you can take to alleviate back pain without rushing to your doctor right away. They are as follows:
Minimize All Physical Activity
When you injure your back, stop doing anything that aggravates it. This includes working out, bending over and picking up objects or participating in rigorous sporting events. You may even have to call in sick a few days if you have a physically demanding job. Stick to low impact movements such as walking and light tasks. And rest as much as you can while you use some of the other succeeding treatments.
Take Pain Medications
While you’re recovering from your back injury, take pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You can usually take two pills of each medication several time per day, but check the label for the maximum dosages within a 24-hour period. One caveat is that acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory, according to Harvard Health Publishing, but ibuprofen is. And you will generally have at least some inflammation with any back injury. Check with your doctor, however, if you don’t know which medication to take as ibuprofen isn’t recommended for some health conditions.
Ice the Injured Area
Place an ice pack on the affected area. If you don’t have an ice pack, wrap the ice in a towel as you don’t want to place the ice directly against your skin. Use ice several times per day but never more than 20 minutes at a time, according to Medical News Today.
Lie on a Heating Pad
While ice restricts blood flow to reduce swelling, according to Mayo Clinic, you can also intersperse heat to relax your injured muscles. Many doctors recommend using ice the first 24 to 72 hours before switching to heat. Heat promotes healing by conveying nutrients and oxygen to the injured area, according to Spine-Health.
Perform Stretching Exercises
Once the pain begins to subside, start performing some stretching exercises for your back. For a lower back injury, for example, lie on a hard surface and press your lower back to floor 10 times, holding each movement for five seconds. Once your back is healed, continue stretching your back muscles to prevent future injuries.
Get a Massage
Ask your spouse to rub the injured muscles in your back. Like heat, massages are also known to increase blood flow which, in turn, enhances healing.
Continue to use these aforementioned treatments for the first three or four days. If your injury doesn’t improve, you may need to see your doctor. You doctor can then recommend additional treatments, which may include seeing a chiropractor or working with a rehabilitation specialist.