Back pain is a very common condition experienced by many people, especially as we age. It is one of the top complaints for adults when visiting a doctor. People with chronic or severe back pain should always seek medical help from their doctor. However, back pain can be relieved with some home remedies if it is minor in nature.
Ice is one of the best home remedies when you first hurt your back. Blood rushes to the site when the injury first happens, which leads to swelling and pain. Cold compresses can reduce the flow of blood to the site by constricting the blood vessels. The ice will reduce and possibly eliminate the swelling, which will also lessen the pain. This is a great remedy early on, but this method should be used for the first 24 hours only.
Heat is very beneficial after the first 24-hour period is over. Heat can do the opposite of the cold compresses after the swelling has subsided. The heat compresses will help dilate the blood vessels and allow for increased blood flow to the site. This step can help with mobility and pain.
Rest is key for the first few days or longer if possible. The back muscles have experienced injury and need time to relax and heal. This doesn’t mean you have to lie in bed the entire time because the back could lock up. However, resting for hours at a time with movement could be extremely helpful. Some light stretching and walking could also facilitate the healing process.
OTC Pain Medications can be helpful with easing the pain but always consult your doctor to understand the pros and cons of these medicines. Some OTC creams and patches can provide some relief over the short term, but it is important to fully understand how they work and the limitations with these medicines. One example of this is when pain creams numb the site of injury to make us feel better. The cause and pain are still there, we are just distracted for the short term and get some relief. However, this relief is temporary and repeated treatments are necessary to continue the pain relief. So these options are good for minor injuries over the short term.
When pain and swelling does not reduce over a few days, it may be time to see your doctor. A pain specialist like Dr. Aust can better diagnose the problem and start working on the most optimal therapy to reach the desired results. Dr. Aust first works to help patients achieve optimal pain management by using interventions to reduce or eliminate oral opioid use.
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