Where Can You Find Relief from Lower Back Pain?

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Lower back pain is a common problem that affects many people. But in most cases, the pain isn’t serious and can be managed at home.

It’s important to avoid activities and positions that aggravate the pain. It’s also helpful to get into a routine of daily back stretches to keep the muscles loose.

Physical Therapy

Whether your lower back pain ache starts from sitting with bad posture or from moving too quickly, getting a physical therapy (PT) session may help. PT can strengthen muscles to support the spine and improve flexibility, which helps prevent future episodes of pain.

PT can also help you change your habits to reduce pain and discomfort. For example, if your back aches from lifting heavy things too often, a PT can show you how to use your legs instead of bending from your back, and how to lift correctly. Changing your work station, eating well and getting adequate sleep can also help reduce back pain.

If a PT doesn’t relieve your pain, you might need to see a specialist. This could be an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgery, especially for severe back pain that doesn’t improve with conservative treatments. Some people with chronic back pain also benefit from pain management specialists who can give injections or perform procedures on smaller joints in the spine. They might also prescribe drugs to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Massage Therapy

A good massage can alleviate back pain and help with the healing process. It increases blood circulation in the body and improves oxygen flow to muscles, which decreases inflammation. It also releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

Massage can reduce muscle tension and stiffness and improve flexibility. It also relieves spasms, which are involuntary muscle contractions that cause pain and discomfort. It is important to get a massage from a licensed professional.

There are several types of massage that can relieve back pain, including deep tissue and Swedish massage. Another type is myofascial release. This involves applying pressure to the fascia, which is a tough layer of connective tissue that can become tight or “sticky” and lead to back pain. During myofascial release, the therapist uses flat hands and fingers to slowly apply pressure over the back area, which causes the fascia to spread out. This improves the flexibility of the muscles, which decreases back pain.

One of the most common reasons for back pain is a strain on the quadratus lumborum or gluteus medius muscles. During a therapeutic back massage, the massage therapist can identify these muscles and treat them effectively for immediate relief.

Chiropractic Care

Millions of people live with lower back pain that causes stiffness and interferes with daily activities. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and paracetamol can help ease pain and improve sleep, but it is important to take them for short periods only to avoid dependency. Heat and cold treatments can also reduce swelling and soothe the pain. Stretching muscles in the low back, buttocks, and hips – also called core muscles – can relieve tightness and pain, while a regular exercise program can strengthen these muscles to better support the spine.

If over-the-counter medicines and physical therapy are not helping, you can try chiropractic care. Chiropractors use manual manipulation of the spine and other joints – known as spinal adjustments – to reduce pain and improve function. They may also recommend exercise, nutritional counseling, and other wellness strategies to help manage pain and prevent further injury. They are typically the first choice for a herniated disc, but can also be helpful for sprains and strains, or with other spinal conditions like osteoporosis or ankylosing spondylitis.

Opioids

Having back pain is one of the most common health problems worldwide. Over 577 million people experience back and neck pain at any given time. If over-the-counter NSAIDs don’t help, your GP may prescribe stronger medicine. These might include codeine (on its own or combined with paracetamol). This type of medication works as a painkiller but can also be an effective sleep aid.

But a recent study found that opioids are not more effective than a placebo in relieving acute low back and neck pain, and they might even cause harm. The world-first trial, led by the University of Sydney, shows that treatment guidelines should be changed to advise against opioids for this condition.

Opioids have a number of risks, including tolerance and addiction, worsened pain, poor quality of life, and increased dependence on the medicines. This is why researchers want to find alternatives. Mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy are two ways to ease chronic back pain without opioids. These treatments can reduce negative reactions to pain and improve your overall quality of life.

Surgery

If pain relievers and physical therapy do not provide relief from back pain or if you have severe numbness, weakness, or problems with your bladder or bowel, your doctor may recommend surgery. If you have a herniated disc or spinal stenosis (mild to moderate), our neurosurgeons can perform a minimally invasive surgery to stabilize your spine and relieve pressure on nerve roots. For more severe herniated discs and scoliosis, we can use a more open procedure called decompression, in which we remove bone or tissue that crowds nerves.

We can also perform a spine fusion, in which we fuse bones of the spine together to straighten them. Fusions can be very effective for many patients.

Conclusion

You can find relief from back pain by avoiding activities and positions that make your pain worse. Instead, take short breaks while working or playing sports, and set a timer to get up every 20 minutes. You can also try alternating hot and cold packs on the affected area. Heat helps relax tense muscles, and cold reduces swelling. Heat and ice are particularly useful in treating sciatic pain, which is caused by herniated discs that compress the spinal nerves.

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