- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Non-invasive Cures for Back Pain/Aches Relief
Back pain—don’t we know it at one time or other? It’s a common complaint. According to an independent national survey conducted by the North American Spine Society, 65 percent of the individuals polled experience back pain at least once a month or several times a month. In fact, it’s the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. Been there? When you consider the spine, you’ll know why it is such a common problem—the back is an intricate structure of bones, muscles, ligaments and disks (cartilage-like pads that act as cushions between segments of the spine).and any impact on any of these parts can produces back pain. Sometimes, it’s just strain from improper or heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements. Or it can be more involved, due to structural problems such as bulging or ruptured disks, sciatica (shooting pain down the legs due to bulging or herniated disks), arthritis, skeletal irregularities or osteoarthritis. Sometimes, back pain just show up and no specific cause can be found.
Back pain can be uncomfortable and in severe cases, it can be debilitating and intervene with your quality of life. Mild back pain may go away on its own but more involved back pain needs to be addressed by medical treatments.
There are many ways to deal with back pain and this hub specifically deals with non-invasive treatments. Surgery and more invasive treatments are often considered as a last resort when non-invasive treatments don’t work.
These treatments help you manage pain without going to extreme measures. These treatments serve to alleviate pain—you may not be able to eliminate pain altogether. These treatments also help you improve function of the back, so you can get on with life.
The easiest and the most common way to deal with back pain—take medications. However, it is wise to consult your doctor before taking any medications. It is often a temporary fix, usually to relieve discomfort until inflammation subsides and your body heals itself. Medications include analgesics which work to relieve pain. Examples include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatroy drugs (NSAIDS such as Advil, Motrin, Tylenol, aspirin), and topical applications such as Bengay, Icy hot and Capsaicin (Zostrix).
Anti-convulsants, antidepressants, and opioids may be prescribed too.
Perhaps you have seen Home Depot workers wearing them or you may be wearing one yourself. Brace braces or corsets(think lambar supports, not female accessories) offer support to your abdomen and take some of the stress off your lower back. They protect your back from unnecessary strain and it is advisable to wear them only for several hours a day. Prolonged use of them can cause atrophy of some muscles that support the spine.
You can buy one at the pharmacy or medical supply store or online specialty store. Your doctor may also prescribe a specified customized brace for your back, depending on the severity of your back pain.
Cold or Heat Therapy
You can easily utilize cold or heat therapy to bring relief to pain and muscle tension of the back. If you have cold packs, wrap them in a piece of cloth to prevent frostbite and hold it to sore area for 15 minutes. If you don’t have cold packs, make your own—fill a Ziploc bag with ice-cubes and seal it well to prevent leaks or grab a bag of frozen vegetables. Cold can reduce inflammation and swelling by constricting blood vessels. It also works by slowing nerve impulses, making it harder for the muscles to contract, thereby reducing pain.
Some studies have shown that heat therapy is effective in dealing with acute pain associated with nonspecific back pain. Warm bath, warm packs, heating pads or heat lamp are all examples of heat therapy. Heat encourages blood circulation, which helps to heal damaged tissues. What’s more? It soothes the tissues and allows them to stretch more easily, resulting in more flexibility and yes…less pain.
If you find that one therapy works better…use it. If a combination of both therapies work—go with it.
Hand-held Heat Massagers
Some people have found back pain relief with hand-held back massagers. These massagers usually use heat therapy to penetrate below the surface of the skin to soothe agitated nerves. As discussed above, heat therapy stimulates blood flow, reduces inflammation and makes connective tissue more flexible. Some massagers uses infrared heat therapy that can reach connective tissue way below skin surface.
Examples include Pollenex Deep Heat Infrared Massager, Pollenex PHM100GH Gel Touch Massager and Conair range of hand massagers. Most of these massagers have heads that swivel and they have different heat and speed settings.
This treatment involves using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to deliver tiny electrical current to key points on the nerve pathway to release pain-inhibiting molecules (endorphins) or to block pain fibers that carry pain impulses. Whether this form of treatment work is still inconclusive, though some chronic back pain sufferers routinely use it to help them function with less pain.
Physical activity plays a big role in recovering from back pain. A physical therapist can best advise you on the types of exercises to do to facilitate back pain recovery. Stretching and strengthening exercises that don’t exert the back can provide lower back pain relief and improve function.
You can also work with your physical therapist to develop a
sets of exercises to strengthen your back to prevent further back strain. These
exercises are tailored according to your back needs, which is different for
everybody. These exercises should become part of your permanent routine at home
to build up strength, endurance and function of your back. Some studies have
shown that exercise therapy is more effective in providing back pain relief
than conservative or inactive treatments. In particular, a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy show that practicing pilates on pilates equipment is effective in reducing pain in related to non-specific lower back pain.
Try Some Back Pain Relief Exerices
There you have it--different ways to deal with back pain. However, there is another element that can totally help you feel better. Health experts call it attitude adjustment, your mom may call it "deal with it!" but this tiny attitude adjustment can work wonders.The technical term is "Cognitive behavior therapy," but we will not delve into it, after all, there is no need to over-think this--positive thoughts produce positive emotions and a happier back.