Many people live with constant back pain. Management of chronic pain is possible with exercise and pain relief options.
Back pain has got to be one of the worst kinds of pain, especially when it is located in the lower back. When you have injured yourself, you soon discover that there are very few movements that do not involve the lower back, especially everyday tasks like getting dressed in the morning. One of the most feared events is sneezing, which sends a ripple of uncontrolled motion which can cause unbelievable pain.
The doctor may prescribe treatment, but for many people, the result is lifelong management of the pain and living with the inconvenience of having to restrict work and social activities such as sports and hobbies.
See the Doctor First if it Does Not Recover
Back injuries are often beyond the ability of a doctor, but doctors must be consulted first for a new pain that persists or an obvious injury. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders states that:
“Most patients with back pain recover without residual functional loss, but individuals should contact a doctor if there is not a noticeable reduction in pain and inflammation after 72 hours of self-care.”
They define the pain that is in the lower back as pain that lasts a few days to a few weeks and chronic pain as pain that lasts for over three months.
Most of us Will Experience Back Pain
Although the majority of back injuries are avoidable, the American Pain Society states:
“Of all the different types of aches and pains people experience, the most common pain is the back pain. A majority of us – eight out of ten – will experience back pain at some point in our lives.”
The injury may be a result of a trauma or strain in work, sports, gardening or through some kind of accident. Anything that puts an excess of stress on the bones or tissue can bring about the lasting muscle ache or a sharp or shooting pain.
The First Extremely Effective Way to Reduce Pain
Other than drugs, with all the side effects they can bring with them, the cold-pack has got to be one of the most efficient pain relief. Although there will sometimes be conflicting advice from those who advocate heat, chiropractors advise a cold-pack and most sufferers will profess that the cold-pack works best.
The cold-pack may simply be a bag of ice or even a pack of peas or a specially made bag of gel that can be put into a freezer. (Note that a cloth or tee-shirt should be placed between the bag and the skin). The first moment of placing the ice on the lower back can be quite a shock, but within seconds the healing effect is felt.
The pain is numbed and flexibility begins to return due to the secondary effect which is the reduction of inflammation. The cold causes the blood vessels to contract to reduce the amount of blood that can get to the area.
Natural Anti-Inflammatories and Pain Relievers
It is very easy when in great pain, to grab medicines like ibuprofen. They are certainly very effective when used to relieve back pain. However, herbalists are now referring to studies carried out that compare the anti-inflammatory characteristics of turmeric and ginger with that of ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen has many side effects and there can be great risks in taking too much. The side effects are including digestive problems, dizziness, nausea, and hypertension.
Turmeric and ginger are both well known for their anti-inflammatory benefits but together they appear to have a superior effect. The National Institute for Health recognizes the effects and states that it is safe in “food doses.”
Ways to Reduce the Possibility of Injury and Re-injury
The most common causes of back pain, excluding arthritis, are:
- lifting some objects that are too heavy
- lifting that is not proper
- sudden or improper movements of the back
- overreaching or over-stretching
Being sensible and aware of the possible dangers can greatly reduce the risk of injury and reduce the pain while trying to manage an injured back. The most well-known advice is to bend the knees when picking up a weight (do not bend at the waist) and also to turn the whole body when holding a weight rather than twisting around.
Healthy Exercise for the Back
An important way to reduce the pain and the risk of further injury is to do regular exercise. The right exercise can not only strengthen the muscles around the back but also increase general flexibility and strength making the body better able to cope with any further strain.
The first place to start is with stretching exercises. One particular problem with a back injury is that the pain causes the person to change their posture and walk and stand differently. This puts an uneven strain on the hips and the legs and can bring about further injury.
Stretching exercises can loosen the joints and re-train the body in the correct posture. The stretches should not hurt and so should be stopped if they begin to make pain worse rather than better.
Training with weights increases overall strength but when done carefully can also work the large and small muscles around the lower back to reduce the chances of strain. Most weight exercises involve the back and so unless the doctor has advised otherwise, they can all be performed.
The important thing to remember for most people is that every exercise is safe as long as it does not involve bending at the waist. Always bending at the knees still works the lower back but will not over-strain it. The waist can still be worked but slowly and carefully to ensure that any problem can be detected before it does any further damage
For some people, the back pain will be with them for the rest of their lives but through stretching; weight training and careful choices, the risk of further damage is greatly reduced and the pain can be managed.