Understanding Back Pain

Back pain is a symptom that occurs due to different illnesses and conditions. The cause could be either a problem with the back itself or a different part of the body. It is difficult to pinpoint a single cause for the back pain. Causes for the back pain could be disease of the spine or arthritis of the spine, stress or injury to the back, or spinal nerve injury.

The prevention of back pain is not possible. Hence we are left with managing it with the various approaches, from conservative therapy to surgical intervention.

Conservative management is an approach that treats back pain using the non-surgical treatment options such as physical therapy, medication, etc. Usually, a combination of multiple conservative treatments is used to effectively alleviate the symptoms of back pain.

There are different conservative treatments available and many of the treatment options can be tried at home.

  • Cold and Heat packs

For the first 48 hours on the onset of pain, apply a cold pack to the pain area for up to 20 minutes per session several sessions a day. A bag of frozen peas or corn also can be used. What the ice pack does is, it temporarily shuts down the capillaries and reduces the blood flow to the affected area. This helps in reduction of swelling and also retards the nerves’ ability to send pain signals. After the first two days, you can use 20-minute session of heat pack. Heat helps in increasing the blood flow and loosening the tightness of the muscles.

  • Exercises

Although rest is required for back pain, complete bed rest is not advised. Complete bed rest does more harm than good to the spine. Stability of the spine is possible only with gentle exercises. Hence, gentle stretches, walking, avoiding sitting for long periods of time, etc are recommended to deal with back pain. These help in preventing muscle imbalances as well.

  • Massages

Gentle massage regularly brings down the pain. These could either be general relaxation rubdowns or structural massages targeted at the area of pain.

  • Posture correction

Back pain occurs in a majority of people due to poor posture. So, working on the posture to ease the strain on the spine will certainly help with the pain. We need to look for a posture that gives minimal stress to the back and makes us feel comfortable. Once we have figured out the posture that helps with our pain, we should try and maintain the posture during all times.

  • Weight check

Our lower back bears most of our body weight. Hence, we need to maintain the ideal weight Try and maintain weight within a healthy range with the help of diet and exercise. Being overweight puts extra stress on the back.

  • Avoid smoking

Smoking increases the risk of arthritis of the spine and other bone problems. So, try and avoid smoking or kick off the habit if you are already a smoker.

  • Over-the-counter pain killers

Multiple over-the-counter pain killers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen can help in alleviating the symptoms. But it is essential to discuss with the doctor or pharmacist about any interactions with the medicines that we already are taking and also the side effects to prevent any adversity.

  • Yoga

Yoga is known to alleviate backache symptoms but it is essential to learn the correct poses from a certified person in order to achieve maximum benefits.

  • Herbs and other kitchen products

There are multiple herbs available that help with backache such as ginger, basil leaves, garlic, wheat, Epsom salts, Chamomile tea, milk, poppy seeds, lemon, potato, etc. Herbal oil is also known to be effective in treating backache.

  • Optimization of vitamin D level and vitamin K2 levels

These vitamins help in strengthening the bones and preventing softening, which can lead to lower back pain.

In case the pain continues despite the above treatments, then we need to consult with the doctor.


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