Low back pain seems to be a common complaint in all age groups. It is hard to look at someone who is suffering from this problem, or any type of pain for that matter. Many of these people are in such pain that they feel that a back operation is a solution to their problem. Back operation may help and sometimes it does not. It is a hard choice to make. For those who decide not to have the operation, or who don’t need it, there are some ways that may ease the pain.
Medical studies show that prolonged bed rest is not necessary for most back problems. In fact, staying in bed for more than two days may increase the pain and stiffness. Moderate activity can be more helpful if an individual avoids getting too involved. This of course, can make the pain worse.
The book, “A Practical Guide to Everyday Health Decisions,” states ice or cold packs can reduce the pain. It can also help if there is a strained muscle or a swelling. The advice is to use ice packs for twenty minutes, three or four times a day during the first few days. After that, a hot bath or a heating pad may be used to reduce pain and stiffness. Ice may still be helpful.
Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen (Motrin or a generic) or aspirin may be helpful. If any of these drugs cause an upset stomach, then acetaminophen (Tylenol or a generic) can be used instead. Muscle relaxants can be used the first few days to ease muscle spasms. Narcotic painkillers are rarely prescribed because they may become addictive. It is also wise to refer to a doctor if a person is not certain which pain medication to use. As they say, “better safe then sorry.”
It is important to make sure that when in pain, maintaining good posture at all times is very important. This may be difficult for some people, but if you are really trying to help yourself, you will try to remember this fact. It is also suggested in “A Practical Guide to Everyday Health Decisions,” lying on the back with a pillow under the knees or lying on the side with a pillow between the lower legs can be helpful.
Physical therapy can be helpful by doing special exercises. Learning manual therapy technique, pain relief techniques such as ultrasound, and the use of heat and cold are all used if you decide to go to a physical therapist.
Surgery is usually only considered if months of non surgical treatment has failed. In this case, an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon can help decide.
Source: A Practical Guide to Everyday Health Decisions