Back pain is common, but it’s important to understand that many things can cause back pain. This will help you determine the best treatment for your symptoms.
Doctors will usually take a history and exam to see where the pain is coming from. They may use imaging tests such as X-rays to show if there are broken bones or arthritis in the back. Get started by clicking here at https://saunders-therapy.com/.
Back pain is often intense, and it can limit daily activities. However, a few days of limited activity, the use of over-the-counter pain relievers, and the application of heat are usually all that many people need to reduce their back pain. If the pain is not gone after a few days, it’s important to see a doctor.
Your doctor will want to find out what is causing your back pain. A careful history and a physical examination are the first steps. Then your doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI to determine the source of your pain. These tests can help your doctor decide whether or not surgery is needed.
If your back pain is caused by a muscle strain, sprain, or pulled ligament, your doctor may advise rest for 24 hours to allow the injured tissues to heal. Ice packs or frozen vegetables may be placed on your back to help decrease inflammation, numb the area, and relax stiff muscles. After a few days, switch to heating pads or warm baths to increase blood flow and help loosen tight muscles.
It’s important not to overdo the rest, though. Studies show that moving your back as much as possible within a pain-free range helps to strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility. This type of rest, called active rest, can help you get better faster than bed rest.
Your doctor may also recommend manual therapies such as manipulation or mobilization of the spinal joints. This is generally performed by osteopaths or chiropractors and can help reduce your back pain along with exercise and a physiotherapy program. It’s important to follow your therapist’s instructions carefully to prevent further injury or pain.
Back pain can be very debilitating, but it is not uncommon to find home remedies that help ease the discomfort and allow you to get back to your normal daily activities. One of the most common and effective treatments for back pain is ice. Ice therapy lowers the temperature of the injured area which reduces inflammation, and swelling, constricts blood vessels, and helps numb the painful area. This is especially useful for reducing the pain caused by acute injuries such as muscle strains.
Apply a bag of frozen vegetables or commercial ice pack to the affected area several times a day, a few hours apart for up to 20 minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling. To avoid ice burns, place a washcloth or paper towel between the ice and your skin.
A simple strain of a back muscle can cause a lot of pain. It is important to treat a back injury with rest (for up to two days), pain relief medication, and ice.
Using ice on the affected area is particularly helpful during the first couple of days after an injury. This is because icing an injury early can decrease inflammation and speed up healing.
Once the pain and inflammation have decreased, you can switch to heat therapy. Using a hot water bottle, a heating pad, or a warm bath can relax muscles and improve blood flow to the area. Just be careful not to use the heat on high or fall asleep with the heat on as this can result in serious burns. If you are experiencing extreme or persistent pain, it is important to contact a medical professional for further testing and treatment options.
If your back pain is mild, over-the-counter pain medicines can ease it. The medicine is absorbed through the skin and enters your bloodstream. It decreases pain and reduces fever and inflammation. Over-the-counter medicines also can help treat headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, earaches, and toothaches. They can even relieve flu or cold symptoms.
There are many different types of OTC medicines to choose from at your local drugstore. The two main types of pain medications are acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Acetaminophen is effective for most people with mild to moderate pain. NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen work by blocking certain chemicals in your body that cause swelling and pain.
These medicines can be taken by mouth or by applying them directly to the skin. Topical medicine comes in the form of creams, gels, sprays, and patches. The medicine may contain lidocaine, menthol, capsaicin pepper, or a combination of these. It blocks pain receptors in the skin and usually makes the area feel warmer or cooler. Common brands of OTC topical pain medicines.
Over-the-counter medicines are generally safe to use, but you should always read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If the medicine does not help, contact your doctor. This could be a sign that you have a more serious problem and need a prescription medicine.
If you are taking other medicines, such as blood thinners or diuretics (drugs that make your body get rid of water), tell your doctor before taking OTC medicine. It is possible these medicines can interact with each other and cause harmful effects.
Increasing the strength of the back muscles, improving balance and decreasing pain help reduce your risk of future back problems. Physical therapy also allows you to continue your recovery without the need for NSAIDs and other pain medication and, in many cases, can prevent the need for surgery.
During your first PT session, the physical therapist (PT) will review your medical history and symptoms, and then evaluate your posture, movement patterns, strength, flexibility, and balance. The PT will also look for deficits that are either causing or contributing to your back pain and develop a treatment plan to address them.
In some cases, your PT will use passive treatments like heat and cold therapy, massage, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to relieve your pain. Other times, your PT will perform active therapy, which involves moving your back to increase its range of motion. PT is usually the recommended course of treatment for chronic low back pain. It’s also a good option if you’ve already tried over-the-counter pain relievers and have had limited relief.
Your PT can also teach you exercises to improve your posture and movement patterns so that you don’t injure your back again. Some back problems are caused by bad movement patterns that force other muscles to step in and do the work, leading to pain. Your PT will show you exercises and observe you to make sure that you’re performing them correctly and not injuring your back again.
Therapists also treat upper back pain (also called the thoracic spine). This type of back pain can be caused by muscle strain or injury, poor posture over time, or trauma. Therapists treat this type of back pain with postural instruction, joint mobilization, traction for spinal compression, massage, and a variety of other techniques.
Back surgery is very effective for reducing pain and improving quality of life. It’s also safer and less invasive than ever. However, your doctor may only recommend surgery if the cause of your pain is serious and you’re suffering from symptoms like numbness or weakness that affect your daily activities.
Your spine is a series of bones called vertebrae separated by intervertebral discs. These disks allow the spine to move and protect the vertebrae from rubbing against each other. But if the discs become damaged, they can slip out of place and press on spinal nerves. This can cause back pain and other symptoms such as numbness or weakness in your legs and arms. Surgery can help ease these symptoms by removing the injured discs or stabilizing your spine with rods, screws, and cages.
Before you decide to have back surgery, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and discuss your lifestyle goals. They’ll ask you to rate your pain on a scale of zero to 10 and examine your ability to walk, sit, stand, and lift objects. They’ll also assess your range of motion and look for signs of muscle spasms and weakness.
If your pain is due to a herniated or bulging disk, the doctor can use a procedure called a discectomy to remove the part of the affected spinal bone. They can also do a laminectomy to remove the back portion of vertebrae or an amniotomy to remove part of the bone and tissue that narrows the spinal canal. They can also perform a spinal fusion, which joins the spinal bones together with bone grafts and metal plates, screws, and cages.