Self-care and Conservative Care For Your Back Pain Adjustable Bed, Memory Foam Mattress, Beds and Pillows - Natural Back Pain Relief Products - self-care products

Conservative Care For Your Back Pain

Back Be Nimble Newsletter - July 2001

For most people, lower back pain tends to get better within two weeks to three months. Whether your back pain is getting better, or is becoming chronic, it is wise to consider an appropriate course of conservative (non-surgical) treatment and self care to facilitate pain relief, reduce muscle spasm, and rehabilitate your back.

Self care

Since most episodes of lower back pain will eventually get better, self-care may be effective early in the course of low back pain. For most episodes of lower back pain, a portion of treatment focuses on a short course of rest (limited to one or two days) along with pain medication (such as ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen). Additionally, ice and/or alternation of heat and ice (always ending with ice) may be applied to the back to decrease inflammation and promote healing. SoftTouch Hot/Cold packs might be of interest. Most people find it helpful to apply ice soon after the pain starts, and after 72 hours, begin the alternating method.

After a short course of rest, gradually returning to normal activities is advisable and the sooner you can return to normal daily activities, providing your pain is subsiding, the less likely your condition will become chronic.

Walking is an excellent exercise since it is gentle on the back yet helps bring oxygen to the soft tissues in your back and stimulates a healing response. If walking is too difficult, utilize pool exercises (water therapy) and mild exercises while lying in bed or on a carpeted floor. Robin Mackenzie's "Treat Your Own Back," is a book that offers some well respected exercises of this type.

You may find that sitting will aggravate your pain, since this position loads pressure on the spinal discs to a degree that is three times more than standing. Reclining relieves pressure on the lower back and is often the most comfortable position. An Electropedic Adjustable Bed with a latex foam mattress provides the most comfortable sleeping solution when suffering from back pain.

Finally, be sure to take good care of your back while at work. If you work at a desk, make sure your chair provides good lumbar support and is positioned properly for your frame. Whether sitting or standing, try to take regular breaks to stretch and move around - prolonged static posture is very hard on your spine.

Conservative treatments

If the symptoms do not start to abate within one to two weeks, or if your symptoms are a cause of concern, medical attention should be sought from either your primary care doctor or chiropractor. The assessment of your condition will begin with a history of your pain, including questions about where your pain is located, what it feels like, how long you have had the pain, and if anything makes the pain feel better or worse. A physical exam will also be done to assess the nerve function and motion in your lower back. Sometimes an x-ray or other diagnostic tests may be needed to better assess your condition.

Combining the information from your history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests, the health provider will then recommend a course of treatment. Generally, conservative treatments will be recommended first, but if these fail, surgical treatments may be a reasonable option. First line conservative treatment options may include pain medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or spinal manipulation from chiropractors/osteopaths. Additional benefits are gained through lifestyle modifications, whereby participants discover how to modify their daily activities in a way that doesn't irritate their condition. This involves evaluation of ergonomics, sleeping postures, lifting postures and performance techniques for various lifestyles activities such as brushing one's teeth or drinking from a water fountain.

One of the keys to recovering from an episode of back pain, and to help avoid future episodes, is to take on a comprehensive rehabilitative approach that includes stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning of the back and core muscles. It is advisable to see a trained and licensed health professional to assist with such rehabilitation, as your exercise program should be customized for your specific diagnosis and level of pain. Additionally it is important to learn the proper form and technique for each exercise.

Once better, it is possible that you may experience future episodes of back pain. We hope that a better understanding of the self-care and conservative treatment options will help you to better manage your back health.

At Back Be Nimble, we bend over backwards to help your back be nimble again!

Be Well,

Dr. Brad Lustick
CEO and Ergonomic Supervisor

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