Anatomy Basics for Back Pain Back Pain or Dorsopathy Basics Back Pain Signs & Symptoms
Medical Advice in Back Pain Back Pain Risk Factors Back Pain Common Causes
Medical Causes Rare Medical Causes Back Pain Complications
Screening and Diagnosis Self-Care and Treatment Medications and Therapies
Chronic Back Pain Treatments Surgery and Other Treatments Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Back Pain Prevention Statistics for Back Pain Glossary of Terms

Self-Care and Treatment for Back Pain

When back pain does occur, unless there is a serious injury or medical condition, then simple home treatments, rest, and adoption of proper lifting and movement techniques are often sufficient to enable a full recovery. However, if improvement does not occur within say 2-3 days, or if pain becomes worse or debilitating, or you suspect something more serious, then you should seek immediate professional medical advice.

The following tips may allow you to care for non-serious back pain at home:

Apply Cold and then Heat

Heat and cold can soothe sore, tense, and inflamed muscles along back, and reduce pressure on spine. Examples of heat sources include heating pads, heat lamps, hot compresses, and hot baths. Examples of sources of cold include cold compresses. The best strategy is to apply cold first. For example, apply ice immediately after the injury has occurred no more than 20 minutes, and then repeat this procedure several times a day. When applying ice, it is a good idea to place ice in a plastic bag and then wrap a towel around bag to keep a thin layer of insulation between your skin and the ice. After 20 minutes, or less if muscle spasms have stopped, then the pain should subside, and you should use heat to help relax muscles and promote blood circulation to help heal any damaged tissues. For all hot and cold treatments, it is suggested than you limit each treatment to a maximum of 20 minutes.

Keep Moving

Prolonged bed rest is not a good treatment strategy for back pain. If you stop moving for long periods, then your muscles may "freeze up", making movement even more difficult and painful. Instead, engaging in light physical activity can aid healing and recovery. However, if your back hurts, then reduce or stop any aggravating activities, while continuing with activities that aren't causing pain.

Physical Support

If you suffer from back pain, then using a back support device may help support the back. A range of braces, corsets, and back support devices are available at medical stores and pharmacies, but talk to your doctor first before buying or using any such devices. A particular support device may be recommended by your doctor depending on your back situation. At current time, research studies have not definitively proved whether back support devices really do help reduce back strain. On positive side, back support devices provide comfort, warmth, and back support. They also serve as a reminder that you should not attempt any heavy lifting or aggravating movements. On negative side, some back support devices can be quite uncomfortable, and prolonged use can allow your back muscles to weaken. If you do use a back support device, then it is advised that you only use it for short periods of time or during activities that may strain your back. The best back support device is strong core and back muscles. That is, build up your core and back muscles by performing suitable exercises.

Use Pain Relievers

A range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) is available over counter at your pharmacist. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), along with various other medications, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), can control and relieve pain, stiffness, and swelling. Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether to take medications on an "as needed basis" when the pain becomes intense, or on a regular schedule each day.

Most people's back pain improves or completely heals with a week or two of treatment and gentle movement at home. The use of pain medications and hot / cold therapies is usually sufficient to reduce pain. A couple of days of rest in bed can be beneficial, but a period longer than this can slow or reverse healing process. If you have tried above simple home care treatments and your back pain has not improved within a few days. Then seek professional medical advice and discuss the possible treatments, such as those in the sections below, with your doctor.

Back Pain

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