Back pain is something many people struggle with at some point in their lives. While it’s a common problem, it can be pervasive, causing great disruption to your life. If you’re currently dealing with this discomfort of this kind, there are things you can do to address the issue at home. However, keep in mind that there are some indicators you may need to see a doctor. Keep reading for at-home remedies for back pain and when to seek medical care.
Stretch It Out
One way to address most back pain is with stretching and strengthening exercises. Such movement can help to strengthen the muscles in your core, adding support to your back. They can increase flexibility as well. Pilates, yoga, and tai chi are exercises you can try to work toward improvement. Try not to overdo it. The point of such exercise is to gently provide stretching. Listen to your body if you feel like exercise is too much.
In addition to regular stretching, you should also consider taking a short walk at least a few times each week. This prevents weakness from occurring in the muscles that support your spine and back. Remember, support is needed to lessen pain.
Maintain Proper Posture
Slouching or leaning forward are sure ways to irritate your already sore back. Keep your head centered above your pelvis. Maintaining good posture can ease lower back pressure. Pay attention to your position if you work at a desk for long hours. It’s a good idea to stand up and stretch or take a short stroll now and again.
Give Ice or Heat a Try
Wondering which is best for back pain – ice or heat? Well, the answer depends on your preference in most cases. A bit of trial and error will let you know which works best for you. However, a general rule is to ice swelling and inflammation. Try heat to relax sore muscles or stiffness. Whichever you choose, keep treatment to 20 minutes or less and don’t use them along with ointments or creams. This could cause irritation or burning. It’s also a good idea to wrap your heating or ice pad in a towel. Do not place them directly on the skin.
Try Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are often helpful at lessening sore back pain. Acetaminophen may also provide relief, though it doesn’t reduce inflammation as NSAIDs do.
Consider Topical Creams
Topical treatments that contain ingredients like menthol, camphor, or lidocaine go directly to the source of your pain and can be quite effective. They work by cooling, heating, or numbing the area. You will need to reapply your salve, ointment, or cream throughout the day to achieve the best results, but you should receive noticeable improvement.
When to See a Doctor
If you’ve been dealing with your discomfort for more than a week or more, it may be time to schedule an office visit to see your physician. This is especially true if you’re in constant pain or if it is worse at night and when lying down. Another symptom that should be taken seriously is if the pain spreads down the legs and causes numbness or tingling. If redness or swelling accompanies your aches, this is worrisome as well. If you have a fever or are experiencing bowel and/or bladder control issues, seek medical attention immediately.
Your physician can examine you and run tests to determine the cause of your pain. Be sure to let them know if you’ve recently experienced a trauma or injury that may contribute to the problem. There may be non-invasive steps that can help ease your discomforts such as pharmaceuticals or supplemental care such as chiropractic treatment. However, you could require surgical intervention like disc replacement if you have an injury that isn’t healing on its own. Such treatment is well worth it so that you can return to your normal functioning and enjoy your everyday activities without pain.
Keep this information in mind as you work to manage your back pain. Hopefully, you’ll begin to see a reduction in discomfort in just a few days. However, avoid suffering too long without medical consultation. Early treatment can lead to improved results and have you feeling better sooner.