Coping with back pain can seem like a daunting challenge, particularly if you need to perform routine tasks such as caring for children, driving, and handling a full-time job.
Here are a few tips to help you cope with injury-related back pain and hopefully, find some relief.
1. Improve Your Sleep Position
When you have back pain, something as normal and easy as sleeping can become challenging. You may find that when your back pain is bad, you can't go to sleep.
Then, when you don't sleep, your back pain might get worse. To catastrophic injury victims, this is a horrific vicious cycle, but it doesn't always have to be.
There are certain things you can do to get into a better sleep position.
- You may want to try lying on your side or putting a cushion or pillow between your knees so your spine is in a neutral position. This might help relieve back strain.
- Find a mattress that is comfortably firm.
- If you must sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees for support.
2. Focus on Your Posture
Bad posture often exacerbates back pain. This is true especially if you tend to sit for long periods of time.
- Make sure you don't slouch or remain bent over your keyboard.
- Sit straight, relax your shoulders and make sure your body is supported against the back of your chair.
- You might want to place a cushion between your lower back and the seat. Feet must be placed flat on the floor.
Keeping good posture at all times will help minimize your back pain.
3. Medications Can Help
Two types of over-the-counter pain relievers can help those struggling with injury-related back pain.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, as well as acetaminophen, can help reduce pain. Both have some side effects, so not all can take them. It is important that you talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. Also, pain medication alone cannot solve your problem.
- You may need more than one type of treatment to alleviate your pain. If your pain is severe, you may need prescription-strength drugs or even opioids to help with your pain. It is important to discuss your situation with your doctor or pharmacist especially if you are taking any other drugs.
- If you are having painful muscle spasms, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to help ease painful muscle spasms.
- In addition to pain medication, your doctor may also prescribe antidepressants, even if you are not suffering from depression. While it is not quite clear how antidepressants help relieve chronic pain, they are prescribed for lower back pain.
It is believed that these drugs have an impact on pain signals in the body, thereby helping alleviate pain.
4. Physical Therapy
Physical therapists can help you move in a certain manner that prevents you from putting added stress and strain on your back. They can also teach you specific exercises that can help make core muscles stronger.
A strong core is also one of the best ways to keep future back pain at bay. When you increase strength, endurance, and flexibility, back pain decreases. However, strengthening your body could take time.
5. Movement Will Help
Back in the day, doctors used to recommend bed rest for back pain. However, modern research has shown that lying still actually worsens back pain.
In fact, not moving around could result in other types of complications. If you are in a lot of pain, do not rest for more than one or two days. It is important that you get up and gradually start moving again.
Try mild exercises such as walking, swimming and yoga. Exercise has been determined as one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly.
6. Applying Heat and Ice
Regularly applying ice and heat to painful areas on your back may help reduce pain and inflammation from an injury. Whether it's ice or heat, apply it for up to 20 minutes each time.
- Wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect your skin.
- A heating pad can help relax your muscles and get the blood flowing to the affected area.
- Warm baths can also help you relax. Never use heating pads while you are sleeping. This helps prevent burns and tissue damage.
- Recent studies have found that massage can help improve pain and functioning for individuals with chronic back pain.
7. Alternative Treatments for Back Pain
Acupuncture is said to be one of the best alternative treatments for back pain. It is a procedure based in Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles at specific points of your body to help relieve pain.
The relief you experience from each session may last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Acupuncture can be particularly helpful if you have muscle spasms or nerve pain.
8. Spinal Injections
Your doctor may recommend spinal injections to help alleviate back pain. There are a number of different types of injections doctors specializing in pain medicine might use for pain relief.
For example, a corticosteroid injection could help relieve inflammation, which might be causing the pain. The doses of medicine you receive will typically depend on the type of injection you get.
9. Back Surgery
Sometimes, surgery may be your best option to regain functioning. If a bulging disc is putting pressure on a nerve, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove some disc material.
Surgery may also help decompress an area where the pressure is being exerted on the spinal cord or nerves. In some cases, spinal fusion may be done to help stabilize the spine.
All surgeries carry risks. So they are usually the last resort when it comes to easing back pain.
Back Injury Compensation
If your chronic back pain was caused by a traumatic event or as a result of someone else's negligence, you may be able to seek car accident compensation for current and ongoing treatment expenses, wages lost due to work days missed, and other damages.
An experienced, local injury attorney will be able to help you secure maximum compensation and hold the at-fault parties accountable.