Back pain is second only to headache as the most common neurological ailments in the United States. A 2002 study showed that back pain is one of the leading reasons why people visit hospitals and miss work.
Back pain is often a sign of injury or some underlying problem related to your spine – its bones, muscles, and other soft tissues. It could disrupt your work, routine, and your daily activities.
Fortunately, many cases of back pain are not very serious and do not require urgent care. In fact, most cases of back pain are only short-term, lasting any time from a few days to a few weeks. Below are some tips to help you relief back pain effectively and quickly:
Rest Your Back
When you hurt your back, the best way for you to achieve back pain relief is to lie on your back on the floor. Place pillows under your knees so that your hips and knees are bent slightly. This is a good position to take the pressure and weight off your back.
Alternatively, you could also assume the same position only with your feet propped up on a chair. First, lay your back flat on the floor. You can use a pillow to support your head. Then, bend your knees so that the back of your legs are resting on the pillow on top of the seat of the chair.
Back pain relief is normally achieved after a day or two of this kind of rest. If the pain remains even after you’ve rested for two days already, see a doctor. Resting like this for longer than two days may cause your muscles to weaken, leading to even slower recovery.
Hot compresses are not scientifically proven but a fair number of people claim that they can provide back pain relief. Heating pads, especially, have a relaxing effect on muscle spasms which are the leading signs of back pain.
Place the heating pad over the painful section of your back and leave for 20 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use ice packs for back pain relief. Massages can also provide some relief.
If you want fast-acting back pain relief, there are non-prescription medications available. These drugs can reduce pain and swelling and provide back pain relief fairly quickly. They include aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Motrin).
It is also important to take active steps to avoid activities that may lead to back pain, such as heavy lifting.
You should see a doctor immediately if back pain is a result of trauma, or if pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
Fever and chills
Unexplained recent weight loss
Significant leg weakness
Severe, continuous abdominal pain
Sudden bowel and/or bladder incontinence—either difficulty passing urine or having a bowel movement, or loss of control of urination or bowel movement.