Back pain is usually seen more in the lower back. Most of the people who suffer from acute pain in the back or lower back get relief within a few days or weeks after starting the treatment.
These are the cases where the pain is due to the tear of muscle fibers and strain of the back muscles and ligaments, due to some overzealous activity.
Those with other causes may require more intense and prolonged treatment for their chronic back pain. Accurately diagnosing the cause of pain first and then treating it promptly is important, because the complications can be crippling.
The following are the symptomatic and curative treatments for lower back pain. The treatment plan depends on what has caused the back pain.
The remedy can be conservative but surgery may, in certain cases, become necessary for cure.
Back pain treatment guidelines
Different causes require different treatment plans due to the different pathology involved. Reading the causes that give you back pain will give you proper insight.
Again, if complications have set in the treatment becomes more aggressive.
Warm and Cold Compresses
Compresses, warm and cold to the back give some relief. Warm compresses give relief by relaxing the muscle spasm, while the cold compresses reduce back pain by decreasing the inflammation in the back.
Bed rest is advised for about 2 days to avoid putting any strain on the muscles of the back.
Keep a pillow under your knees, when sleeping on the back or between the knees, if sleeping on your side. This will give better relief while lying down.
Bed rest for more than 2 days is not advocated nowadays, as more days in bed can weaken your muscle due to calcium depletion from the bones and can also lead to a depressed state of mind. After this period, you should resume whatever physical activity possible in a gradual manner.
Back Pain Medicines
Over the counter nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and aspirin give relief from pain. They reduce the inflammation but have the side effect of causing gastric irritation and renal toxicity if taken over the long-term.
OTC muscle relaxants
OTC muscle relaxant tablets such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) help to get rid of back pain by relaxing the back muscles.
COX – 2 inhibitors
COX-2-inhibitors give back pain relief by inhibiting or blocking the action of the COX-2 enzyme. The cox-2 enzyme is responsible for causing inflammation and pain. They are preferred as they do not cause gastric irritation.
Vitamins for chronic and severe back pain
We all know that vitamins form an essential part of nutrition. They cannot be synthesized in the body and therefore, you have to take them through food or through supplements. Some of these vitamins help to lower back pain by strengthening your backbones.
- Vitamin D. This is the most important vitamin as far as bones are concerned. It helps in the formation of new bone cells and also in the absorption of calcium. Both vitamin D and calcium are bone strengtheners. Deficiency can lead to loss of bone surfaces, which can cause low back pain.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin also helps in the absorption of calcium, thereby helping in improving bone strength and health. Strong bones make for a strong back, which helps to reduce back pain.
- Vitamin B complex. This group of vitamins consisting of vitamins B1, B6, and B12 helps in improving overall health. They especially help to bolster the health of the muscles and the nerves. Strong muscles and nerves significantly contribute to recovering from back pain.
- Vitamin E. Inflammation is a common cause of back pain. It can be inflammation of the muscles or the nerves. It causes the release of free radicals that further worsens the back pain. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights the free radicals, which reduces inflammation giving relief from back pain.
Topical pain relievers
Topical creams containing pain-relieving medications such as diclofenac gel give relief by local application on the skin.
Low doses of antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline) give pain relief by reducing stress levels. Stress is known to cause tightening of the muscles including those of the back, which causes back pain.
Steroids can be very useful for sciatica pain relief. In acute sciatica, steroids are injected into the epidural space around the spinal cord for immediate relief from acute back pain due to sciatica.
The steroid injection reduces the inflammation around the nerve roots and the pain relief lasts for a few months
Traction for low back pain
Traction was formerly used for relief of back pain but is nowadays not considered favorably.
This is a method where the patient lies on his back on the bed. His legs are slightly raised and harnessed to weights.
The principal was to apply traction to the vertebral column so as to bring about proper alignment of a displaced vertebra. However, as mentioned above, studies indicate that this has no benefits.
Back pain massage therapy
Massage of the back by an expert can give short-term pain relief by relaxing the back muscles. It is particularly useful in a spasm of the back muscles or chronic muscle tension
Physiotherapy and exercises
Physiotherapy involves heat or ice, real-time ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and muscle release techniques to your back muscles and soft tissues to reduce pain.
As pain reduces, exercises form a very important part of physiotherapy. They help to strengthen the back muscles, which in turn help to hold the vertebrae in position and prevent further damage.
Exercises increase your flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve your posture. Regular exercise helps prevent the recurrence of pain.
It is necessary that these back pain exercises be performed correctly and therefore, you should learn them from your physiotherapist. They should be performed daily. Warming up before starting your exercises is important. It may, however, take a few weeks to recover.
Acupuncture treatment and pressure point massage
Acupuncture and pressure point massage have proved beneficial to reduce back pain.
Back pain relief belt
The medical back pain belt called the lumbosacral belt is at times advised to be worn for supporting the muscles and ligaments of the back. It relieves the pain of the back and sciatica by stabilizing the pelvis and the spine.
You should wrap it around the back and abdomen firmly (not tightly) and it is held in position by Velcro. The back pain belt also helps in maintaining proper posture and gives support to the already strained back muscles and ligaments.
You wear it in such a position that the upper border of the belt is just below the navel.
If you are overweight, reduce yourself. This will decrease the weight, the backbone, and its muscles have to bear and give substantial relief.
Surgery for back pain
Surgery is indicated for the chronic cases caused by any of the following conditions:
- Herniation of the lumbar disc
- Spinal Stenosis
- Compression fracture of the vertebrae