Many people are wary of taking prescription pain medicine to alleviate back pain, and seek relief through over-the-counter medication and physical therapy. However, there are a few other tools one can utilize to be rid of back pain. Check out the tips below, as compiled by the Harvard Medical School Health Publications.
At this moment, about 10% of men have a backache, and up to 90% will have a backache at some point in their lives. Most flare-ups of low back pain get better over time, often within a few weeks. Pain control is important because it allows you to stay active, which assists in your recovery. For over-the-counter pain relievers, you have two options: acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Pain relievers are only one tool to help you recover from, and prevent low back pain. The next time back pain strikes, try these tips to find relief:
Soothe with cold or heat. In the first few days, when pain is most intense and may be accompanied by inflammation, apply cold compresses for 15-minute periods. After a few days, switch to warm compresses to relax the affected muscles and enhance blood flow to the area. This simple approach can reduce reliance on pain relievers.
Stay as active as possible. Limited amounts of rest in a chair or bed can help when the pain is most intense, but you will do better in the long run if you keep doing your daily activities.
Stretch and strengthen your back. Once the pain eases, it’s helpful to exercise regularly to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your spine. This helps prevent future flare-ups. A physical therapist can offer individual advice.
Develop back-safe techniques. When you lift heavy objects, lift with your leg muscles—not your back. Watch out for behaviors, like slouching when you sit, that may trigger back pain.