Back pain can be tricky to treat, but you've got to find a way to get relief to make it through your day. Persistent, or chronic, back pain can be a little tougher to fix than acute back pain, or back pain that occurs and goes away (often as a result of an injury), according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, or NIAMS.
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Anyone can suffer from back pain, and most Americans do; the NIAMS says that as many as 25 percent of adults in the United States deal with back pain within a three-month span. That means that proper treatment is essential to help you recover from back pain.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to receive a diagnosis. Before you can fix any problem, you've got to know what's causing it. So, when back pain puts you out of commission, head to your doctor to find out what's wrong with your back and the best way to treat it.
Heat up aching muscles with a heating pad. When back muscles ache and stiffen up, resting on a heating pad can relax the muscles and ease pain. Heat allows blood vessels to widen, improving blood flow to the area, says the NIAMS, which reduces muscle spasms.
Ice an aching back. Used in place of or in addition to heat therapy, applying a cold pack or ice pack to a sore back can help to numb the pain. Cold therapy can also manage inflammation to help alleviate back pain. Alternate between hot and cold therapies to tackle your back pain problem.
Exercise to ease the pain. If you've wrenched your back with an injury, you may need to just take it easy. However, if you suffer from chronic back pain, regular exercise is an excellent remedy. Exercises to stretch and tone the muscles in the abdomen and lower back can help alleviate back pain and reduce the risk of future back pain, according to the NIAMS.
Allow your back to rest. Sometimes, especially when an injury caused your back pain, allowing the muscles to rest may be the key to fixing your pain. One or two days of resting the back in a position that takes pressure off of the sore muscles (such as lying flat with a pillow placed beneath your knees for support) can serve to ease the pain. However, too much rest can keep your back from healing, so keep it short.
Try steroid injections. If inflammation is the cause of your back pain, steroid injections can be an effective treatment choice. Steroids control inflammation, which can fix the resulting back pain, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS. Steroid medications may also be taken by mouth.
Seek surgical remedies if necessary. The only way to fix chronic back pain is through surgery, says the NIAMS, though it's best to try non-surgical treatments before going under the knife. Types of surgery to fix back pain include fusing vertebrae together and replacing a disk in the spine.