A Pain in the . . . Back?

If you have ever had back pain you know that it can be one of the most debilitating of injuries. If your back goes out, you cannot do your usual activities while you wait for it to heal. It is unlike a sprained ankle, broken arm, or a cold. When you have back pain, your whole body is affected.

You can suffer from pain in your back suddenly by moving your torso the wrong way, or you can bring on a back ache slowly by overworking your muscles. The pain can be sharp and severe, or a slow deep ache. Back pain usually affects people more as they age. Joint tissue breaks down as we age, it is not as strong, and it slowly starts to shift, or deteriorate. Other causes can be simply being in a seated position for too long, or the more sever slipped disc.

If you are suffering from back pain, it is important that you apply ice to the area as soon as possible. The ice should not have direct contact with your skin, and should be wrapped in a kitchen towel, or pillow case. The cold compress should be applied for at least 15-20 minutes, with intervals of about 30 minutes between each application. The ice will help reduce inflammation, and it usually keeps the discomfort down.

If you are past day one in your back pain, you should start applying heat to the injured area. You can do this with a heat pad, or soaking in a hot tub. Heat will reduce the severity of the muscle spasms. You should apply the heat for 20 minutes, take a 30 minute break and reapply, again.

If you are trying to sit with an injured back, it is best to use good posture. Keep your spine straight. This relieves pressure on your injured back muscles. If you are at a table, you should sit as close to it as possible to keep you from leaning over as you eat, or work. You should get up and walk around every 15-30 minutes to keep the strain off your back.

Anyone with recurrent back pain should never sleep on their stomach. Sleeping on your stomach adds pressure to your lower back muscles. Sleeping on your side is the best position for sleeping with back pain. You can place a pillow between your knees, which will also ease pressure.

If you are overweight, you may want to think about shedding some of the unwanted weight. You can diet and do light, moderate exercise. The less weight your back has to support, the better it will feel.

As always, when you lift you should bend with your knees. Never bend at your waist to retrieve an object. Someone that bends at the waist to retrieve an object is just asking for a back injury.

If you have chest pain, vomiting, shooting pain down your limbs, or if your back pain lasts for more than a week, you should consult a physician.

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