Almost everyone will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. At any given time, almost 30 million Americans are suffering from this condition, and back pain is the second leading cause of doctor’s visits. Although back pain is usually for only limited periods of time, about 7 percent of people will suffer from chronic back pain. That is why knowing the most effective back pain management techniques is so important.
Causes of Back Pain
Most back pain originates in the lower or lumbar region. There are many causes of back pain, ranging from muscle sprains to damaged spinal discs and, even, osteoarthritis. While your physician will do their utmost to identify the cause of your condition, in almost 90 percent of back pain cases, there is no identified cause, making treatment a more difficult task.
Back Pain Management Techniques
In most cases, your physician will initially recommend that you use some home remedies. If you injured your back recently, then the best course of action is to ice the injured area. This will help lower inflammation which can exacerbate pain symptoms. Furthermore, you may feel a desire to remain in bed, and while an initial period of bed rest may be necessary, you should maintain an active lifestyle to counteract inflammation.
Part of recuperation following a back injury as well as preventing a future injury is strengthening your back. Obesity is a major risk factor for back issues, so try to maintain a reasonable weight. Light but vigorous exercises like cycling or swimming can improve back strength while also easing pain symptoms. Stretching your back is also important, especially if you contort your back into unnatural positions like sitting for long periods of time. Finally, make an effort to maintain an optimal posture throughout the day and night.
Along with these pain management techniques, you may also want to use over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor first about any OTC medications because there can be some serious side effects if you have certain health conditions or are taking other medications. If your physician says it is okay, then you should find effective pain relief—perhaps even as potent as prescription painkillers.
If your pain persists, your doctor may recommend more intensive therapies like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS. TENS devices deliver a low-intensity electrical current that interferes with the transmission of pain sensations through nerves. Originally, TENS devices could only be found in clinics, but new portable versions like Quell are now available for home use.
More physicians are encouraging patients to try out non-traditional pain management techniques. This includes massage which can help relieve muscle tension, improve circulation and trigger release of natural painkillers. Chiropractic medicine which involves manual manipulation of the spine is also increasingly popular. Finally, you may want to consider acupuncture which is used by millions of people around the world to manage many health conditions including back pain.
Many patients also respond positively to cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy uses counseling and biofeedback to help you control your pain response and minimize symptoms.
If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment, contact Colorado Pain Care today!
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
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