What is Back Pain?
Lower back pain is a common issue that many adults, particularly those between the ages of 30 and 50, experience as they age. It can be either ongoing or sudden and brief, known as acute pain. Causes of lower back pain include muscle pulls, spasms, nerve irritation, and spinal abnormalities.
How is Back Pain Diagnosed?
To diagnose back pain, your doctor will assess your symptoms and ask questions about when the pain started and any changes in your activities. If the pain persists or worsens after a few weeks, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further management options.
In cases of chronic lower back pain, your physician may prescribe stronger medications. Antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs can be used to alleviate the pain. For nerve pain like sciatica caused by a bulging disc in the lower back, anesthetic medications may be injected to reduce inflammation.
Managing Back Pain at Home
There are several measures you can take at home to manage back pain:
It is recommended to resume normal or near-normal activity as soon as possible.
Prolonged bed rest is not advised as it can prolong the recovery period. Sleeping with a pillow between your knees or lying on your back with a pillow under your knees can increase comfort.
Cold and Heat:
Using ice or heat can provide relief. Heat improves blood flow and relaxes back muscles, while cold compresses or ice packs can reduce swelling and numb the area.
Preventing Back Pain
To prevent future back pain and improve your current condition, consider the following:
Practicing meditation and mindfulness can help reduce stress levels and inflammation, enabling your brain to better cope with pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be helpful, but it is important to take them as directed by your physician to avoid serious side effects.
If mild to moderate back pain does not improve with pain relievers, a muscle relaxant may be beneficial. However, be cautious of potential side effects such as sleepiness and dizziness.
Topical Pain Relievers:
Products like salves, ointments, patches, and creams can deliver pain-relieving substances through the skin.
A physical therapist can teach exercises to strengthen back and abdominal muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance posture. Regularly practicing these techniques can help prevent the recurrence of pain. Additionally, physical therapists provide education on modifying movements during back pain to avoid exacerbating symptoms.