Back pain is one of the most commonly reported complaints at regular doctor's visits. When it comes to chronic lower back pain, patients agree it is a debilitating affliction. Sufferers are not only exempt from their favorite sports and hobbies, but they may be powerless to even move, making the simplest of everyday tasks impossible to perform. According to experts, 80 percent of people will endure some degree of back pain in their lifetimes. While some conditions improve naturally over time, others pose serious health risks that reduce quality of life. The majority of back problems resolve in a week or two, so with proper education and rehabilitation practices, you can improve your chances for a speedy recovery. Consider the following tips for managing lower back pain.
Get moving after 48 hours of inactivity
How much bed rest is too much? When experiencing back strain, many patients' natural inclination is to hop under the covers and wait it out. Minimizing the weight on your spine can provide instant relief, but in the long run, more than two days bed rest can actually slow recovery. Extreme fractures may necessitate longer idling, but most sufferers will benefit from walking, stretching and other light activity. If you're recuperating from a serious medical injury, physical therapy is more effective when started early as opposed to after a lengthy bed rest.
Ensure a good night's sleep
With any illness, the body needs precious sleep to recuperate. Chronic back pain tends to perpetuate poor sleeping habits, making for a frustrating cycle of suffering. When managing lower back pain, be sure to treat your insomnia separately by looking into medication or natural relaxation techniques. During the day, reduce your caffeine intake, eat wisely, exercise, manage stress and do all you can to optimize your chances for a quality night's rest.
Perform specific exercises for your lower lumbar spine
Strengthening exercises are vital to quick recovery from lower back injury. When dealing with pain in this area of the body, research effective training methods for your core, such as a light abdominal workout. Many patients assume that any activity helps, but a strict regimen catered to the lower spine will increase your flexibility and shorten recovery time.
Use cold and heat therapy to ease the pain and encourage healing
There's no one answer to which strategy works best, but patients who regularly experience back problems should experiment with heat and ice packs. Cold therapy reduces inflammation, heat promotes blood flow, and alternating both methods has proven to be an effective remedy. Make sure to keep a regular pattern of application, and if topical remediation is unsuccessful, consider over-the-counter medicines to help alleviate discomfort.
If you are dealing with lower back pain, it is important to consult with your physician and neurologist about the severity of the problem and possible treatment options. With proper diagnosis and therapy, you may be able to minimize the impact of your back problem and manage discomfort with a number of effective at-home remedies. See Dr. Kelly Kiehm of Capital City Neurosurgery for further information about dealing with lower back pain and possible spinal surgery options.