When you experience back pain, you may think it’s not such a big deal. After all, a lot of Canadians live life suffering from various degrees of back pain.
Things like degenerative disc disease and similar conditions are particularly prone in certain segments of the population. Notwithstanding, back pain symptoms could be indicative of something more serious going on.
Whenever you experience back pain, here are seven ways on how to ease back pain symptoms:
Step 1: Don’t panic about your back pain
The first step to ease back pain symptoms is to keep a calm, steady emotional state. Don’t panic about your pain, and be realistic about your expectations of the treatment.
Eighty-five percent of us will experience back pain at some point in our lifetimes. Half of these people will encounter back pain multiple times throughout any given year. So needless to say, back pain is very common and no reason to panic. Also, in over 90 percent of cases, the back pain remedies without any surgery. Even so, if you have back pain that does not go away within the day and which is hanging around, it’s important to seek out professional help for an examination.
Chronic lower back pain usually does not present itself alone. It is usually associated with a problem in the lower back, relating to a ligament injury, a muscle injury, an issue with the nerves, or potentially the spine. Lower back pain can also occur when there is something happening in your nearby organs, such as the kidneys.
Step 2: Analyzing your back pain symptoms
Describe your back pain symptoms. Oftentimes, it might be related to strained muscles. The incorrect lifting of heavy objects or an awkward movement can pull a muscle, as can overuse playing sports or lifting weights at the gym. Another common explanation of back pain is spinal osteoarthritis which is damage and deterioration to the cartilage of joints. Then, there’s osteoporosis which involves the loss of bone density and thinning of the bone. Generally, back pain symptoms will fall into one of these three categories.
Back pain can show symptoms ranging from a dull ache in the lower back to stabbing and shooting pain radiating down the leg, an inability to stand up straight, and a decreased range of motion.
Some warning signs to keep in mind which could indicate something more serious is going on includes loss of bowel or bladder control; throbbing in the abdomen; numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs; onset of pain following a trauma such as a fall; the presence of fever; intense, constant pain which worsens at night; or unexplained weight loss. If you’re experiencing these back pain symptoms, it is imperative to see a doctor immediately.
Step 3: Herniated disks
If your back pain is diagnosed to originate from a structural problem, this is also common. The disks which form our vertebras have tissues cushioning the space between them and as we age, this tissue can be worn down.
The disks then bulge, herniate, or rupture. As this happens, nerves compress and you get pain. In fact, herniated disks or bulging disks can be extremely painful, even going so far as to send pain shooting down your leg. If this is happening to you, we absolutely recommend getting seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
Step 4: Over-the-counter medications
Medication is one effective way to ease back pain symptoms. The first and most common treatment for back pain recommended by the medical community are over-the-counter pain medications. In most cases, something like ibuprofen or naproxen is enough to successfully calm back pain. These are NSAIDs, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. They tackle inflammation in the body.
Then, there are analgesics such as acetaminophen which you can try. Just be careful with these medications if you’re experiencing kidney problems, stomach ulcers, or similar issues with your organs.
Step 5: Topics rubs and creams
If you’re not getting the relief you want from NSAIDs or over-the-counter analgesics, topical creams and ointments can be extremely effective. Things like lidocaine-based topical ointments are recommended to treat back pain symptoms, though there are a range of different creams and ointments out there.
Step 6: Alternative medicines work!
If you’re experiencing back pain symptoms which are not dissipating, and if you’re hesitant about using pharmaceuticals as a remedy, there are several alternative therapies extremely effective handling back pain. Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic adjustments, and even cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) work wonders.
There are studies supporting chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, among other therapies, to be just as effective as medications like opioids – and in some cases, more effective.
Step 7: Other medications to try
Chronic pain suffers with back pain symptoms may be provided other types of medications. Opioids are extremely effective with several elements of pain although their use in back pain is controversial.
In addition, with the opioid crisis ongoing in North America and some doctors refusing outright to prescribe opioids, you may not find opioids as an appropriate recommendation for you. Alternatively, there are muscle relaxants which can help to reduce muscle spasms, anti-depressants used off-label to treat any nerve-related pain, and steroid injections which can provide pain relief for up to three months.