The pain felt in the back is considered ‘back pain’. Divided into three segments, neck, middle back and lower back. Back pain can originate from many areas of the body, although the most common for pain is the lumbar area. This area supports most of the weight in the upper body. The discomfort can radiate into the arms and hands, as well as, the legs and feet, and could include numbness or weakness in arms and legs. Richard Laliborte, and The Editors Of Prevention, reflect on the subject:
“Whether it was brought on by arthritis, a structural or nerve problem, bending the wrong way, or lifting something a little too heavy, low back pain is frustrating as all get-out. But if you’re struggling, know this: You’re definitely not alone. Most people experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it’s one of the most common reasons people book doctor’s appointments and call out of work. It’s also one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
Back pain treatments range from simple to complex, and the right course for you depends on how long you’ve been hurting, the severity and location of your pain, and whether your pain is structural or muscular. But in any case, you’ll likely start with conservative, home-based remedies before you move on to doctor-assisted treatments.
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Home remedies for back pain
If your back pain just started, consider slacking off, just this once. About 90 percent of back pain episodes resolve themselves on their own within six weeks. People who don’t pursue extreme treatment tend to have fewer complications than those who end up rushing into invasive treatments before it’s truly necessary.
Of course, the thought of waiting over a month for your pain to subside may feel unbearable. Try these patience-prolonging strategies to relieve your pain and possibly even shorten the wait until Father Time works his subtle magic.
Even as you practice patience, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help ease the pain you’re pushing through. The research behind medicine guidelines for lower back pain finds that these may give slightly better relief than acetaminophen (Tylenol). Over long periods, NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems, so don’t take them for more than 10 days without consulting your doctor.
Ice and heat
Break out that bag of frozen peas (or an ice pack, if you want to get fancy) for the first 48 hours after the pain sets in, and put it to use for 20 minutes a session, several sessions per day. After those two days are behind you, switch to 20-minute intervals with a heating pad. Localized cooling shuts down capillaries and reduces blood flow to the area, which helps ease the swelling, says Lisa DeStefano, an associate professor at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. Cold also thwarts your nerves’ ability to conduct pain signals. Heat, on the other hand, loosens tight muscles and increases circulation, bringing extra oxygen to the rescue.
Some back trouble starts from the ground up. Women whose feet roll inward when they walk (what’s known as pronation) might be particularly susceptible to lower back pain, according to a recent study in the journal Rheumatology. Another study finds that correcting the problem with orthotics may help.
Exercises and stretches
Gentle stretches, walking, and periodically standing up at your desk can help stabilize your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. And despite how hard it is to imagine doing Downward-Facing Dog with a bad back, yoga can work in your favor, too. A 2013 review of studies found strong evidence it can help beat lower back pain. Any type works; one to consider is the restorative viniyoga style.”
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