Your spine may be the central support structure for your skeleton, but in many ways this complex series of bones, ligaments and nerves is quite fragile. Low back pain may result from sports injuries, obesity, deteriorating tissue or, even, stress, which is why it is one of the most common health conditions in the U.S. Almost 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives, and almost half of the American workforce suffers from this health issue annually.
Any pain or discomfort related to your back is cause to see a physician. What may appear to be a minor tweak could quickly grow into a much more serious health condition without proper medical attention, so have your doctor evaluate your symptoms as soon as possible. In most cases, it will turn out to be something that is readily treated, but in those rare circumstances it is something serious, you will be glad your physician diagnosed it early.
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of sleep for your health, especially if you are suffering from an injury. Although you may find it is more difficult to get a full night’s rest if your back is troubling you, make every effort to get as much sleep as possible. Sleep deprivation will disrupt your body’s healing process and may aggravate any low back pain symptoms. If you continue to experience sleep issues, consult with your physician before using any sleep medications available to you; many sleep medications may actually disrupt your natural sleep pattern or induce dependency over time.
Another important way to maintain back health and recover after an injury is to strengthen your core abdominal and back muscles. Weak core musculature often invites back injury by producing strain on sensitive muscles that support your spine. A stronger core will not only help prevent injury as you perform mundane tasks or engage in athletic activity, but it will also help your spinal alignment, relieving strain you may not even notice. Avoid exercises that place too much strain on your back like toe touches and sit-ups; instead uses stretches, leg lifts, and isometric exercises.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, then your physician may recommend a medication regimen. In most cases, the doctor will ask you to try over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or Tylenol, which is often as effective as prescribed drugs. If you continue to feel pain, then your physician may prescribe more potent medications for short periods.
In the most serious cases of low back pain, you may consider a surgical procedure. There have been some impressive advances in back surgery that have cut hospital stays in half, although most patients will still need one to two weeks of recovery time. Only patients with a precisely identified back problem are promising candidates for minimally invasive procedures, so you should discuss your case with an experienced spinal surgeon to learn about all of your options.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
M.D. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.