While back pain can exist for many different reasons, the treatments for many varieties of back pain are the same. Whether you’ve suffered a temporary, long-term, or permanent injury for your back, typically you’ll be prescribed some sort of pain killer, or instructed to try an over-the-counter brand. Should those fail or not suffice, you can try a few other methods for treating your back pain. Here are five suggestions you can try yourself.
Heating works by increasing the blood flow to whichever part of the body you apply it to. This aids in healing the spot, and it also helps your muscles relax. You might use a single-use wrap or an electrical heating pad, or any of a number of other options to heat the area. Heating the injured spot shows great short-term relief, though you will find even better results if the proper exercises are also included in your back pain treatment regimen.
Decreasing the blood flow to the area with a cold compress is intended to reduce inflammation or swelling. It can also provide some minor pain relief by numbing the area, though should never put ice right on the spot (use a proper cold pack, or put your ice in a towel), and never for more than 20 minutes at a time, as it can cause skin and tissue damage. Ice and cold therapy have been proven effective for many similar conditions, so it is considered likely that cold can help certain types of back pain, especially injuries incurred recently.
A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit, or TENS Unit, sends electrical impulses to the body via the skin, with the intention of reducing pain. Depending on the level of pain, a TENS unit may be used for minutes or hours. Definitely be sure to consult with a physician before you commit to using a TENS unit, and don’t use it if you have a history of seizures of a cardiac pacemaker.
If your back pain is a result of an injury, as many are (always lift with your knees!), you might consider a lumbar brace. While some lumbar braces are used specifically for lifting, and to prevent further injury doing so, some braces have been used to treat back pain, and the studies show positive results. People using braces reported less need for pain medicine.
Prevention is also important, whether you injured your back at home or while at work. There are braces designed to correct posture, as poor posture is often associated with back pain. You may also seek out shoe insoles, should your feet, legs, or walking affect your back pain. Finding a way to treat your back pain in the most natural, efficient way possible is always preferable to having to resort to additional medications you may not need, but working on your posture and other environmental factors that may play into your back pain is always a helpful way to prevent it.