Back pain can range from discomfort to unbearable pain and may affect your ability to move. We tend to seek treatment when movement causes pain. Back pain can be frightening, especially if it’s a new or different experience. Fortunately, most lower back pain will recede within a couple of weeks with proper recovery and treatment.
One of the most common causes of back pain is due to injury. Back pain caused by heavy lifting, falling or twisting can damage the muscle and ligaments along your spine. Seemingly effortless movements may cause injury if done with an odd twist.
If the cause of your back pain is due to minor injury, apply a cold compress to the area for 5-10 minutes, then repeat when you feel tightening. Between cold compresses, you can apply heat, such as a warm bath or heating pad to help with the pain. Nursing your back for the first 48 hours is most important. You must also avoid further injury – so no work or exercise for you! The addition of a pain reliever, muscle relaxant or anti-inflammatory may also aid comfort and recovery. Ask your PharmaChoice pharmacist to help with treatment choices or medication.
Recovery is only the beginning. To prevent future back injury, train the muscles that support your back. Back injuries are more frequent and debilitating if you are overweight, older, or less active. Easy exercises taking minutes a day can help prevent back injury and increase your range of motion. Try a “plank hold” for one commercial break when watching TV. Hmmm, since you are reading this, maybe try training now. Note, training your core muscles should be gradual, especially if you have suffered injury in the past. In addition, proper lifting techniques should be practiced to prevent injury. Your PharmaChoice pharmacist can provide information not only on recovery but also on prevention of future back injury.
For serious falls or hits, your spine could be affected, seek medical assistance. Other symptoms that should signal you to seek immediate medical attention include:
- Numbness or tingling of legs, buttocks
- Fever, chills, nausea or vomiting
- Loss of bladder control, or darker urine
- Back pain that worsens or does not improve with rest
When in any doubt, err on the side of caution. Health professionals are only a call away, including your pharmacist.