If you suffer from chronic back pain, it can be debilitating and affect your life in many ways. The pain can make it hard to concentrate on the task at hand and to simply function through daily routines. Finding relief often comes in multiple ways, because there often isn’t just one magic solution to treating back pain. Depending on the cause of the back pain the answer to easing your discomfort may vary. Here are a few ways that might be able to get you some relief.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
Alternating both hot and cold therapy at home can give you temporary relief in between therapy and treatments. Soaking in a hot tub or stretching muscles in your pool can also help. Some treatments that don’t require major back surgery are often recommended by orthopaedic doctors and in many cases, a spine specialist. If your pain is something you can’t cope with at home on a daily basis, you may want to consider finding some temporary relief with an outpatient treatment. Some options may be:
- Cortisone injections
- Pain medications
- Muscle relaxers
- Manual manipulation of the joints and muscles
- Aquatic physical therapy
Your doctor may recommend one or more treatments to help you cope with your back pain. This is a positive alternative to having a surgical procedure that involves an incision, which likely results in a longer recovery time.
Many people need hands-on treatment that is intense and repetitive. This can oftentimes be accomplished through physical therapy. A physical therapist is a type of specialist that is trained to help others reduce their pain, improve range of motions and use targeted treatment techniques to prevent or improve disability. Physical therapy may be an option for you because it can allow you to slowly build muscle and possibly help you gain control of your back pain.
You can ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist in which he will include all of your medical records pertaining to your existing condition or injury. From there, you’ll have a complete evaluation and your PT team will develop a treatment plan to help you reach your goals. Ask about stretches you can do at home, in between treatment sessions, including yoga for pain relief. These will focus on the problem areas that may be triggering your back pain.
Evaluate Your Sleep Habits
If you suffer from chronic back pain that is beginning to cripple your life, you need to find out what some of the contributing factors are. Are you getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night? Even if you’ve been diagnosed with a muscle or bone issue, keep in mind that how long and where you sleep can exasperate underlying health issues. Is your mattress over five years old? If so, it may not be working as well for you as it once used to. Over time, your bed starts to mold to your body shape and loses support—even beds with lifetime warranties.
While it may seem comfortable to you, it may be lacking the support that you need to help control your back pain. It may be causing your spine to misalign or certain areas of your muscle tissue to tear or knot up. This can be due to your mattress not supporting your body properly. Poor neck alignment can also be a contributing factor. Making sure to use a pillow that properly supports your neck and spine is vital to a good, comfortable and full night’s sleep. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about what type of mattress and pillow would work best for your condition and then consider purchasing the proper mattress for your physical needs.
When To See A Surgeon
In some cases, back pain derives from severe pinching or impingement of the nerves in and around your spine. Pain can also be the result of a tumor, abnormal growth of bone or tissue or a severe injury to the spinal cavity or nerves surrounding it. If this is the case, you’ll have to consult with a surgeon to determine the best course of action. The answer may be major back surgery to replace or repair discs. Your surgeon will go over how the operation will work, what the recovery time will be and how much pain relief you can expect following the surgery.
Back pain can be something that goes away on its own after your underlying injury resolves itself, or it may chronic and last a lifetime. Start by asking your doctor what the best course of action should be.