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Back Pain - Management Of Acute And Chronic Back Pain

Back Pain Management

The treatment for back pain varies with its cause, severity, and associated factors. Some of the treatments and therapies for back pain are outlined below based on the acute (Short term back pain) and chronic (Long term back pain) back pains.

Management of Acute Back Pain (Short Term Back Pain)

Medicines for back pain

This is the kind of back pain seen more commonly in most individuals. This back pain lasts no more than 6 weeks and can be treated with pain relievers available without the prescription (over-the-counter) at a pharmacy.

Paracetamol is the most common drug used by many people but for some people anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen works effectively.

For severe back pain, strong pain killers such as codeine may also be taken along with Paracetamol.

People who have back pain with muscle spasms may be prescribed a muscle relaxant drug such as diazepam to be taken along with any pain relievers.

Pain relievers can also be taken in the form of ointments, creams, and sprays to be applied over the back pain area.

Hot and Cold Compresses for Back Pain

Apply heat compresses with the use of a hot bath towel, heat pad, or hot water bottle to get relief from your back pain, this method works for some people.

Application of ice packs work for some people. But do not apply the ice packs directly over the area, as this may cause cold burns.  

Application of hot and cold compresses alternatively using ice packs and hot compression packs works for some people.

Lifestyle Changes

Your sleeping posture and the mattress you use also contributes to the back pain. Back pain can be prevented by changing your sleeping position and mattresses. People with back pain are advised to sleep on their sides by drawing their legs up close to their chest by keeping a pillow between their legs. For certain people who have the habit of sleeping on their backs, a pillow can be placed under their knees to maintain the normal curve of their lower back.

Do regular physical activity to remain active all day; this makes you recover more quickly from your back pain, as being inactive makes the back pain even worse. In earlier days, people with back pain were advised to take bed rest, but these days’ people are advised to walk and do their daily activities to prevent immobility of their back.

Being obese and overweight makes one of the causes for back pain. Take a healthy and balanced diet along with regular exercises to help keep your weight in control. This can be achieved by going for regular walks, swimming, aerobics, pilates, yoga etc to strengthen your back muscles.

Reduce your stress levels by practicing yoga and meditation, as being stressful makes back pain even worse. Do the deep breathing relaxation muscle exercises every day before going to bed to relax your muscle tensions.

Management of Chronic Back Pain (Long Term Back Pain)

Back pain that lasts over 6 weeks is considered as chronic back pain

For back that lasts more than six weeks, a more intensive exercise program is advised such as aerobics and stretching exercises under the supervision of a trained instructor. These exercises help strengthen the back muscles and thus improve your posture.

Manual therapy such as massages, manipulation, and mobilization are advised that are generally performed by physiotherapists, chiropractors, and osteopaths. These sessions are usually of 9 nine sessions for a period of 12 weeks.

Another method called acupuncture can also be tried as a treatment option. This includes up to 10 sessions over a period of 10 to 12 weeks.

Surgery is usually recommended as an option when everything else has failed. The most common procedure is the spinal fusion surgery, which involves the joining up of the joint that is causing pain to prevent it moving.

Other methods such as low level laser therapy can also be used but needs several sittings to see the desired results and the results may not be permanent. In this method, low energy lasers are focused on area to reduce inflammation and pain.

Ultrasound waves can also be used to encourage tissue repair.

Interferential therapy is performed through a device which passes an electrical current into the back to relieve from back pain.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is prescribed which delivers electrical pulses to the back via electrodes by a machine. This helps to an extent to reduce the pain from the back.

Mechanical measures such as lumbar supports like belts, mattresses, pillows, traction devices, and braces for the spine are also prescribed.

Pain killers and steroids are directly injected into the joints to reduce the pain and inflammation in some cases.

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