Help Your Back Work for You
Your back is important to almost every move you make, but you probably won't realize that until you hurt it. Then you may wish you could return to the days when you took your back for granted and didn't have any pain. Even though you can't turn back time, you can recover from most back injuries. You can also learn how to protect your back so you'll keep moving and stay comfortable in the future.
For people younger than 45, back pain is the most common cause of disability. A variety of factors can bring on this pain, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of US. Poor muscle tone and being overweight strain your back. Improper twisting or lifting can send your back into spasms. Aging can make your back more at risk for injury. And sometimes, back pain happens for no known obvious reason.
Strong abdominal and back muscles can reduce your risk for injury. You can strengthen your back muscles by getting regular exercise.
Simple home remedies can relieve most back pain. It will take some patience, but if you care for your back correctly, you should feel better within 6 weeks after the injury.
Rest in bed as little as possible—a few days at most, says the NINDS. Too much bed rest weakens your muscles and could slow your recovery. Get up and move around as soon as you can.
For the first 2 days, use ice or cold compresses. It may help to ease your back pain. Wrap a towel around a bag of ice and place it against the painful area for up to 20 minutes. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables. This will change to fit the shape of your body. If you still have pain after 2 days, soothe your muscles with heat. Try a heating pad on its lowest setting, take a warm shower, or soak in a warm bath.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines may also help. Either of these can reduce muscle and joint inflammation and relieve pain. Talk with your healthcare provider about the right medicine for you.
When to call your healthcare provider
Your back pain may require medical attention. Call your healthcare provider if any of these statements apply: