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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The Woes of Back Pain Part 2: causes and cures
Be sure to check out my previous article The Woes of Back Pain Part 1: my experience to read more about how I coped with my lower back pain problems.
Unsurprisingly, back pain is a slippery type of pain. It is hard for doctors to pinpoint the exact cause. Unless it has to do with a more serious problem. By more serious I mean appendicitis, a kidney infection, arthritis or osteoporosis. These are all more complex conditions that cause back pain as a "side effect", if you will.
For the rest of us it is a lot harder to diagnose as well as treat back pain. The good news is that if you are suffering from back pain you are most definitely not the only one. Apparently anywhere from 80%-90% of adults will experience some form of back pain!
Back pain usually subsides in a few weeks so doctors typically recommend patience (I don't have any!) and an anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen) and/or muscle relaxing medication depending on the pain.
Your doctor should also give you a physical examination, ask you questions, and based on those will send you for tests.
I also experimented with heat to help soothe my pain. I filled up a hot water bottle and applied that to the sore area. I also slept with a pillow between my knees, stretched more, and incorporated exercises into my routine to strengthen my back.
(Check out Fitness Tip: Easy Ways to Strengthen the Back for more help and Hatha Yoga for tips on stretching and relaxation.)
If you do find that you are suffering from back pain I would try rest first. Stop whatever activity you are doing that aggravated your back. Incoporate stretching and topical treatments to the pain. If that doesn't work, and the pain hasn't gotten better in a few weeks, then it's time to go see your doctor.
Other Treatment Methods
My back pain did not go away quickly. I suffered for about 2-3 months before I found relief. I'm not a person who likes taking medication so I would only take what I was prescribed when the pain wouldn't let me sleep. Instead I incorporated yoga into my routine, which truly worked miracles. I also looked up particular stretches that were best for the back.
Since my back pain was more of a strain based on overuse, stress, and other factors, I felt safe in taking this approach. If you do not have one of the aforementioned more serious ailments, and don't like to take medication, natural remedies like: yoga, massages, acupuncture, tai chi, and relaxation techniques can help.
I would like in the future to try acupuncture and will probably even visit a chiropractor for more tips on how to protect my back.
The most important thing you can do is self care at home. If you do require medication be sure to see your doctor.