Get out of the car and walk around. Bed: You should have a mattress that keeps your spine straight, while at the same time supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks. Use a pillow, but not one that forces your neck into a steep angle.
Back pain | Causes, exercises, treatments | Versus Arthritis
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Article last updated on Thu 23 February Visit our Back Pain category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Back Pain. All references are available in the References tab. Back pain. Back pain: How is it treated? Back pain: Living with it. Back pain: What causes it? Back pain: What is it? Chronic pain. Ehde, D. Cognitive-bahavioral therapy for individuals with chronic pain.
American Psychologist, 69 2 , Singh, J.
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Use of botulinum toxin in musculoskeletal pain. F Research, 2 , Urquhart, D. Cicuttini, F. Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Vance, C. Pain management, 4 3 , Wong, A. Low back pain in older adults: Risk factors, management options, and future directions. Increased low back pain prevalence in females than in males after menopause age: evidences based on synthetic literature review.
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Optional Comments max. Send securely. Message sent successfully The details of this article have been emailed on your behalf. Problems with the spine such as osteoporosis can lead to back pain. Adopting a very hunched sitting position when using computers can result in increased back and shoulder problems over time. A chiropractor manipulates and adjusts the back of a patient.
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead. Latest news Alzheimer's: Cell mechanism removes defective protein. The majority of back pain episodes are relieved by treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications NSAIDs , such as:. Be careful with medications like ibuprofen if you have kidney problems or stomach ulcers.
Never take more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter medications without talking to a doctor, as even these medications may have severe side effects if taken incorrectly. Topical products may be highly effective at reducing back pain. Many of these contain ingredients like ibuprofen and lidocaine, which have been found to work better than a placebo when it comes to pain relief. Opioids are stronger pain medications that can be prescribed for more severe pain. These medications, such as oxycodone OxyContin and a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone Vicodin , act on the brain cells and body to reduce pain.
Opioids should be used with caution, however, due to a risk of addiction. Muscle relaxants can also be used for low back pain, especially is muscle spasms are occurring alongside pain. These medicines act on the central nervous system to reduce pain. Antidepressants and other medications can sometimes be used off-label for the treatment of back pain. If your back pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline , a tricyclic antidepressant, because it focuses on different parts of the pain response.
This antidepressant may also work better for nerve-related pain. Your doctor might also recommend cortisone steroid injections for severe back pain. However, pain relief from steroid injections usually wears off by around three months. Surgery is a last resort treatment and is rarely needed for back pain.
What is the cause?
Spinal fusion is a surgery in which painful vertebrae are fused into a single, more solid bone. It helps eliminate painful motion of the spine. Surgery to partially remove and replace disks and vertebrae may be done to relieve pain caused by degenerative bone diseases.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before undergoing any alternative or complementary treatment. Many home remedies can be used with traditional back pain treatments. If you have questions about these, talk with your doctor.
Ice packs may relieve discomfort and help lessen inflammation in acute phases of back pain. Wrap it in a thin towel or gauze to prevent damage to your skin. Warm compresses may also relieve pain when inflammation has subsided. Consider alternating between heat and cold. Exercises to improve posture and strengthen the muscles of the back and abdominal muscles — called the core muscles — are a treatment option that should be strongly considered.
Research suggests lavender essential oil or ointments made with capsaicin may help decrease pain. Capsaicin is the ingredient in peppers that make them hot. These ingredients may desensitize the nerves in the impacted area and decrease the pain you feel. Your body can absorb the minerals from the salt bath , and they can help ease aching muscles. Home remedies may be highly effective at reducing back pain. Learn more about how to use them and how they work.
Strained muscles often cause back pain. Strain commonly occurs with incorrect lifting of heavy objects and sudden awkward movements. Strain can also result from over-activity. An example is the sore feeling and stiffness that occurs after a few hours of yard work or playing a sport. Vertebrae are the interlocking bones stacked on top of one another that make up the spine. Disks are areas of tissue that cushion the space between each vertebra.
Disk injuries are a fairly common cause of back pain. Sometimes these disks can bulge, herniate, or rupture. Nerves can get compressed when this happens. Herniated disks can be very painful. A bulging disk pressing on the nerve that travels from your back down your leg can cause sciatica or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica can be experienced in your leg as:. Spinal osteoarthritis is also a potential cause for back pain. Over time, this condition can lead to narrowing of the spinal column, or spinal stenosis. Loss of bone density and thinning of the bone, called osteoporosis , can lead to small fractures in your vertebrae. These fractures can cause serious pain and are referred to as compression fractures.
Place your arms at your sides. Inhale, and as you exhale, slowly contract your stomach muscles. Hold the contraction for five to 10 seconds but don't hold your breath—keep breathing! Repeat 10 times. Hunching over your smartphone or tablet can wreak havoc on your back. Over time, it may stress the muscles and ligaments along your neck, potentially impacting the discs in your spine. Offset the pain from poor posture by bending your head slowly back, forward and to each side three times a day.
Another good move: Lie on your stomach with your hands on the ground by your chest. Press into your palms to lift your chest as far as is comfortable. Hold for a few deep breaths, then come down to start. Want a more intense stretching routine? Each of these stretches works your core muscles, which support your back. The stronger your core is, the more it protects your back from strain and pain.
Do the following stretches twice a day if you're having discomfort now, or once a day to help you avoid aches in the first place:. Place your hands or a belt or towel behind your right calf or thigh whichever feels most comfortable and causes you to feel tension in your hamstring and slowly raise your leg. Straighten it as much as you can until you feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Keep your leg slightly bent if needed.
Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Do twice with each leg. Contract your stomach muscles and bring your right knee up toward your chest, holding your shin with both hands. Try to straighten your left leg, but if you feel any tension in your back, leave it bent. Hold for 20 seconds, then return to start.
Repeat stretch on the other leg. Contract your stomach muscles, and get into position by pulling your right knee to your chest with both hands and straightening out your left leg on the floor. Extend your right arm straight out on the floor and then, with your left hand, slowly bring your right knee over toward your left side. Turn your head toward your right side look down your extended arm. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Make sure your head, arms and shoulders stay on the floor, and don't arch your back. Return both knees to the starting position. Repeat the stretch on the other side.
Contract your stomach muscles and cross your right leg over your left, resting your right foot on your left knee. Then, grab your left thigh with both hands and bring both legs toward your body. Hold for 30 seconds, then return both legs to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.