Most people have back pain at least once. It is one of the common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. Maybe you lifted something heavy or swung a golf club a little too enthusiastically. Or perhaps you have been sitting in an uncomfortable desk chair for two weeks, sweating over a deadline. Whatever the reason, now you’re flat on your back wishing for something – anything – that will put an end to the agony.
Does Everyone Suffer From Back Pain?
Take heart – you’re not alone. Almost everyone suffers from back pain at some period in his or her life. The bad news is that unless you have a significant injury or disc problem, your doctor may not be able to do much for you other than prescribe some pain medication and advise you to rest. The good news is that some simple home remedies can have you back in the swing of things in just a few days. Even better, you can help ensure that you won’t have to endure similar discomfort in the future.
What Are The Sign And Symptoms Of Back Pain?
Back pain symptoms can vary in intensity from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:
- Muscle ache
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
- Pain that improves with reclining
How Can I Relieve Back Pain At Home?
Prolong back pain can affect a person’s work and personal life. Fortunately, the following home remedies are appropriate for anyone who is suffering from back pain as a result of tight, aching muscle or a strain. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing weakness or numbness in the legs or a loss of bowel/bladder control.
5 Ways To Ease The Pain
Go to bed – “Bed rest is a way of eliminating the tension from the muscles,” said Daniel S, J. Choy, M.D., director of Laser Laboratory at St-Roosevelt Hospital Center. “The back muscles’ job is to hold you upright. If you lie down, it will take the tension off of the muscles.” The best way to lie is flat on your back with two pillows underneath your knees. Never facedown, Choy says since this position forces you to twist your head to breath and may cause pain. Make an effort to get up and start moving around after three days, since a more extended period of bed rest may make the muscle weaker and more prone to strain, he added.
Ice it – Applying an ice pack to the painful area within 24 hours of the injury can help keep inflammation and discomfort to a minimum, according to Willibald Nagler, M.D, chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the New York Hospital. “Ice does one thing – it decreases the nerve’s ability to conduct a painful stimulus,” he says. Nagler suggests wrapping ice cubes in a plastic bag, then applying the load on top of a thin towel that has been placed on the skin. Leave the ice pack on for 20 minutes, take it off for 30 minutes, then replace it for another 20 minutes, he says.
Take a hot bath – If more than 24 hours have passed since the injury occurred, ice will not help reduce pain or inflammation. After that time, heat may help increase the elasticity of the muscles by about ten percent, Nagler says. Jerold Lancourt, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at North Dallas Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, tells his patients to soak in a hot bath for 20 minutes or more. Pregnant women, however, should not sit in a hot bath for too long, since raising the body temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period may cause congenital disabilities or miscarriage.
Get a massage – If you are lucky enough to have an accommodating spouse, friend, or roommate, ask him or her to give you a rubdown. “Lie facedown and have someone knead the muscles,” Choy says. Local massage therapists may also make house calls.
Relax – Much back pain is the result of muscles made tight by emotional tension, Lancourt says. He recommends that his patients practice relaxation and deep-breathing exercises, such as closing their eyes, breathing deeply, and counting backward from 100.
When To See A Doctor?
Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within a few weeks. If yours doesn’t improve in that time, see your doctor. Do seek medical attention if you experience the following :-
- numbness or weakness in one or both legs
- unexplained weight loss
- pain spread to one or both legs below knee level.