Ways to Manage Back Pain

So you think you’ve thrown out your back? Here’s what to do.

First, if your back pain is excruciating enough that you can’t move, lose control of bodily functions, or experience pain for more than 24 hours, then seek medical attention immediately.

If you don’t feel your back pain requires medical care right away, there are ways to care for a “thrown out” back. Try one or more of the following methods to treat your back pain:

Massage for back pain

Research shows massage is a reliable, natural treatment for acute low back pain.

Long-term, frequent massage maintenance is best for back pain. But if you’re in a pinch and just now getting started, it’s not too late. Massage therapy for back pain will help to improve circulation in the injured areas. As increased blood flows to the damaged muscle, ligament, or tendon, your body will continue to heal and your pain will gradually decrease.

Massage will also help to address inflammation. In fact, just 10 minutes of massage has been shown to reduce inflammation in muscles. Research shows that during a massage, muscles sense they’re being stretched, which triggers a reduction in your cells’ inflammatory response. And as inflammation decreases, so will the pain in your body.

Experts recommend structural massage—also called trigger point massage—and Swedish massage to address common back ailments, which have been shown to provide up to 6 months of relief from back pain. If your back pain originated from an injury, a sports massage may be appropriate for you. Although these types of massage have been proven to be especially beneficial for back pain, your massage therapist will be able to assess your injury to determine the best massage treatment for your body.

Anti-inflammatories

You may find your back pain is manageable with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as acetaminophen or a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs). Be sure to take any over-the-counter medication only as directed and avoid long-term use without the guidance of your doctor.

Your provider may also recommend a muscle relaxer or another form of medication to relax muscles and prevent back spasms.

Stretching

Stretching is a great way to gently ease sore muscles into recovery. It promotes healthy blood flow, as well as other benefits, including reduced stress and better posture (a known culprit in chronic pain!). However, it’s important to be gentle and discuss any type of injury with a doctor before you incorporate stretching into your daily routine.

You can start by looking into gentle stretching movements or incorporating yoga movements like child’s pose. If you need guidance, see if there are assisted stretching services in your area or seek physical therapy.

Ice or heat therapy

If your back is sore, apply ice to the affected area for the first 24 to 48 hours. It’s likely your pain is due to inflammation, and ice will help get the swelling down. Once your pain starts to decrease, you can begin to incorporate soothing heat from a warm bath or a hot compress placed on the area. This will help to relax and loosen up tight muscles, which decreases pain.

How to Prevent Back Pain

So you’ve thrown your back out and want to know how to avoid doing it again? Prevention is often easier than cure. Try these tips to keep your body strong, loose, and less prone to injury.

  • Have ongoing maintenance massages.

  • Stay active to keep muscles strong and avoid injury.

  • Maintain a healthy weight to ease the load on bones, muscles, and joints.

  • Don’t forget to warm up. Warm, loose muscles are less prone to injury than cold, stiff ones.

  • Wear the right footwear. Avoid heels, platforms, or uncomfortable shows.

  • Learn how to move properly. This includes how to stand, sit, lift, bend, and squat in ways safest for your body.

Prevent and treat back pain with an in-home massage.

Taken from the article “Help, I Threw My Back Out! What Do I Do?” by Brittany Dick


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