Banishing Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common complaints for which patients visit physicians such as Bryan McCullough, DO with the TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute. In fact, experts estimate that nearly 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
Causes of Back Pain
Your back is made of many different moving pieces that connect to help stability and movement.
Bones, joints, ligaments and muscles are all intertwined, and injury or damage to any one of them can result in back pain.
You can irritate joints, sprain ligaments or rupture discs, sometimes with just a simple movement. Back pain also can be caused by problems and diseases of internal organs, such as kidney stones; blood infections; scoliosis (an abnormal curvature of the spine); arthritis; and some types of cancer.
How to Alleviate Symptoms
If you experience back pain or an injury, one to two days of rest can help, but resist the urge to stay in bed. Getting up, moving around and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate stiffness, improve mobility and aid recovery.
Applying heat to a sore back can increase blood flow and speed recovery of acute or chronic back pain. Treating with ice can reduce inflammation and ease pain. Sometimes alternating between the two is the best remedy. Trial and error is the best guide when figuring out what eases your particular symptoms most effectively.
Exercise is not advised for treatment of acute back pain, but stretching, yoga and core strengthening can help alleviate chronic back pain. See a physical therapist or take a class to learn how to do these exercises properly.
When to See a Doctor
Most of the time, back pain will subside on its own with or without treatment. However, it’s a good idea to see a doctor if you have tingling or numbness, if the pain is the result of a fall or injury, or if the pain is severe and doesn’t improve with rest.
It’s also important to be evaluated by a doctor if you have pain together with trouble urinating, numbness or weakness in your legs, fever or unintentional weight loss. These could be signs of a more serious problem.