Everyone has suffered from back pain at some stage of their lives and it is not pleasant. Whether you have suffered from a dull, constant ache that just never seems to go away to a sharp pain in the lower back that makes it difficult to move and go about daily life, back pain is debilitating and annoying and if left, can get worse. There are various reasons for having back pain, from living an unhealthy lifestyle and having poor physical fitness to age, obesity or other diseases and smoking. Usually, the answer to back pain is medication, ranging from over-the-counter medication such as aspirin to stronger medication prescribed by a doctor. However, there are ways to relieve back pain without medication.
What causes back pain?
The causes of back pain are numerous and vary according to a number of factors. Back pain can be caused by self-infliction through bad habits with regards to health and lifestyle, or through other causes such as injury from motor vehicle accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries.
Symptoms of back pain:
- Dull, constant aching or persistent stiffness anywhere along your spine;
- Sharp pain in the neck, or the upper or lower back (particularly after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity);
- Continous ache or pain in the middle or lower back (especially after sitting or standing for extended periods);
- Spasms or sharp pain in the lower back
Remember! Pain in the upper back can also be a sign of a heart attack, so if any back pain symptoms persist, seek medical attention immediately!
- If you experience the following symptoms of back pain, call your doctor immediately:
- There is a numbness or tingling feeling in your groin area, arms or legs – this may signal damage to the spinal cord and requires immediate medical attention;
- Pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg – this might be caused by sciatica, which is a pain stemming from the sciatic nerve that runs down the back of each leg.
- Pain increases when you bend forward or cough – this could be related to a herniated disc.
Treatment of back pain
The treatment of back pain depends on the kind of pain you have and how long you have had it. The most common type of pain is acute pain, which begins quickly and lasts for less than six weeks and is usually caused by self-inflicted injuries such as falling, or lifting something heavy. Chronic back pain is more severe and can last for up to three months. Generally, chronic pain is caused by a more serious problem, so it is advisable to seek medical attention. “Here are the methods how to reduce back pain without medication”
1. Hot / Cold packs or compresses- Cold packs are best used for reduction of swelling and deep pain, and should be applied directly after the injury has occurred. Hot or cold packs are great for soothing pain, stiffness and aches. For muscle spasms, stiff and sore muscles from sporting activities or aches and pains, use a hot pack, which soothes and eases the muscles.
Expert tip! When using a cold/ice pack, the rule of thumbs is 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off!
2. Sleep!- As we know, sleep is the cure for all and a good night’s sleep can work wonders for back pain, repairing strained muscles and soothing flamed joints. Experiment with sleeping positions before you go to sleep and find a position that is comfortable for your back. Make sure the mattress or surface you are sleeping on is firm as a soft surface could cause curvature of the spine and exacerbate the pain.
Expert tip! Sleep with a pillow between your legs as this helps to straighten out the spine while you are sleeping.
3. Gentle Exercise- The third best cure for back pain is gentle exercise and movement, that could very well relieve your back pain and any other body aches. Movement causes the blood to flow, which in turn helps the healing process, so avoid sitting still for extended periods of time as this will make you stiff. Start with gentle stretches and movements that do not cause any pain, such as a slow walk or swim. Here are 18 simple and easy stretches that you can perform in 18 minutes to relieve you from back pain.
Expert tip! Regular exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy body and helps in the prevention of back pain and other injuries.
4. Aqua Therapy- Aqua therapy is fantastic for easing back pain as the warm water soothes and massages your back and other muscles within the body. The buoyancy of the water helps deter strain on the joints, ease muscle tension and increases relaxation, while the heat of the water increases blood flow – all of which play a vital role in the healing process.
Expert tip! Before doing any exercises in the water, get advice from physical therapists, who will recommend the best movements to perform. Otherwise, simply relax in the bath and let all your pain soak away!