Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Back pain is one of the most common ailments in our modern way of life. But there is consensus in the medical community that it is best to avoid resorting to drugs to treat it.
It is always important to rule out specific causes that lead to diseases such as cancer or infections, fractures and bumps, therefore the first thing to do is consult a health professional if these aches and pains persist. But beyond being common - the World Health Organization estimates that one in ten people suffers from it - and from seeming something of little importance due to its severity, it is actually one of the main causes of absenteeism from work.
"In most cases, the pain is not caused by anything serious and will generally get better with time," explains the British National Health Service (NHS).
Back pain, the biggest cause of disability
The American College of Physicians (ACP) updated its guidelines last year and stated that doctors "should avoid prescribing opioid pain relievers" and suggested that before patients take anti-inflammatories or relaxants they should try alternative therapies.
1. Be active
Exercising, adapted to our physical conditions, is one of the crucial steps for a speedy recovery and preventing future problems.
"Rest for long periods is likely to make pain worse," says the NHS.
Exercises and stretching are suggested. Simply walking, in addition to swimming, yoga, cycling, dancing, or Pilates can also be helpful.
But it is necessary to bear in mind that those who have back problems should seek advice before choosing a sport or physical activity and medical authorization when exercising.
Sports such as swimming, cycling or great efforts in gyms using machines and weights, can be harmful if we are not used to them. For example, if we do not have a good swimming technique, we can overload our back, or if our position on the bicycle is not adequate or, we exercise with weights without taking care of our body position and the weight we use. It is about finding the activity that best suits our preferences and physical condition. We can set goals that are not within our reach, but we will have to start with conditioning our body.
2. Consult a specialist.
"Physical therapy is the cornerstone of back pain treatment," says the Mayo Clinic, one of the most respected health centers in the United States.
A variety of heat treatments, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and muscle release techniques such as stretching and massage can be used.
With Livebetter home treatments you can always find a simple, comfortable and advised way to improve your back pain without having to travel to centers with difficult hours to keep up with your daily schedule.
It is always recommended that your doctor is the one who approves these additional treatments if the pain does not subside after a few weeks and that you are aware of the benefits and risks.
"Manual therapies carried out by physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and massage therapists can be useful," notes the NHS.
3. Treatments that can help you.
Small things that you can easily do at home can help you, along with the other tips, to make the pain more bearable until with the right treatment, exercise and better habits it finally disappears.
Among them, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs because it can help you reduce the pressure on your back by improving your sleeping posture.
The type of mattress and the way you lie on the bed has its impact.
And if you sleep on your back, place the pillow under your knees, thus avoiding excessive lumbar curvature.
Applying heat or cold to the affected area also serves to relieve pain. Cold is only applied in the case of inflammation, spillage of synovial fluid caused by trauma or, after a physical effort to facilitate recovery and within the first hours. One should never use cold for a muscle contracture. Heat should be used to treat back pain that lasts more than 48 hours according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and always in periods of 10 or 15 minutes.
Maintaining a positive attitude will help keep your stress, one of the main causes of upper back pain, at bay. Doing some physical activity will also help you keep your mind busy.
To prevent back pain you should:
Do regular, low-impact exercise that doesn't strain your back - walking for an hour a day is a good place to start.
Build muscle strength and flexibility with abdominal and back exercises, and through stretching that you can do at home.
Maintain a healthy weight because being overweight loads your back muscles. A good diet will help you feel better.
Avoid sitting for too long and pay attention to your posture when using the computer and watching television or driving.
Be careful when lifting heavy things. If your muscles are not prepared and you use bad postures, injury can result.
Make sure the mattress on your bed supports you properly and your pillow is the right one.