Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. Yet, many people suffer from back pain without even knowing it. Lower back pain is a common reason for lost work days, and 149 million of those are due to lower-back problems.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Achy Back
Most people will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. In fact, four out of five adults suffer from lower back pain at some point. For most, the acute pain comes on suddenly and lasts for a short period. But for others, the pain is chronic, lasting for weeks.
Ignoring back pain can be costly, not only in terms of money but also in the quality of life. You’re putting yourself at risk for more serious problems, such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and even spinal cord compression when you ignore your pain. The longer you wait to address the pain, the greater the risk for these more serious conditions and possibly the higher the medical costs.
If you choose to ignore your pain, your productivity can suffer. Back pain can make it difficult to concentrate, which led to errors and decreased productivity at work. This can affect your income and your ability to provide for yourself and your family.
Your mental health can also suffer when you ignore back pain. The stress of chronic pain can lead to anxiety and depression. This can make managing your pain even more challenging and cause a decline in your overall quality of life.
When to See a Doctor about Your Back Pain
Back pain is a common problem that can be caused by various factors, from muscle strains to herniated discs. In most cases, the pain will eventually go away on its own with some at-home care. However, there are times when back pain can be a sign of a more severe condition:
See the doctor if:
- Pain is severe and sudden
- Your back pain persists for more than a few days or weeks
- Leg pain, numbness, limping, balance problems, and bladder or bowel issues accompanies your back pain
If you end up getting diagnosed with scoliosis, don’t panic. While it may sound serious, scoliosis is a relatively common condition that can be effectively treated. In most cases, treatment for scoliosis will involve wearing a back brace or undergoing physical therapy, while severe forms may need surgery.
Be sure to find a reliable clinic specializing in these treatments. Choose one with a good track record, has real patient testimonials proving their authenticity, and can offer different treatment programs. It also helps to dig deeper and put your trust in a clinic that can help maintain pain reduction even after treatment.
Back Pain Remedies for Acute Back Pain
Your back pain is acute if it comes on suddenly and lasts for a short period. There are several things you can do at home to help relieve acute back pain. Some are the following.
Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
OTC medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation and pain. Be sure to follow the directions on the label and not take more than the recommended dosage. You can take an OTC pain medication if you are not allergic to it and if it does not interact with any other medication you are taking.
If your pain is severe, you may need a stronger prescription medication. Your doctor can prescribe a drug that will help relieve your pain and inflammation. Let them know if you have any allergies or are taking any other medicines, as these can interact with each other.
Applying a hot compress can help relax the muscles in your back and reduce pain. You can use a heating pad set to low or a warm, wet towel for 15-20 minutes at a time. This is a good choice if your pain is not severe.
If your pain is more severe, you may find relief from a cold compress. Applying a cold pack to the area can help reduce inflammation and pain for 15-20 minutes. Do not apply ice directly to your skin, as this can cause tissue damage.
You may think that physical activities will only aggravate your back pain, but gentle stretching exercises can actually help relieve it. Try doing some simple back stretches to loosen up the muscles in your back and reduce pain.
Two exercises you can try at home include:
Get on your hands and knees with your spine in a neutral position. As you inhale, arch your spine and tilt your head to the ceiling. As you exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat this 10 times.
Lie on your back, bend your knees, and flatten your feet on the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles and tilt your pelvis up to flatten your lower back against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 10 times.
If your pain persists after trying these at-home remedies, or if it is severe, contact your doctor. They can recommend other treatments to help relieve your pain and get you on the road to recovery.
No one wants to deal with back pain, but it’s essential to know when to see a doctor. If your back pain persists for more than a few days or weeks, is accompanied by leg pain, numbness, limping, balance problems, or bladder or bowel issues, contact your doctor. Remember that there is no point in suffering through the pain, as treatments available can help.