If you’ve ever experienced back pain,
you’re far from alone.
- - Millions of Americans experience back pain
- - Ways to treat back pain
- - What to ask your doctor
Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives. But when it starts to interfere with your daily life, you realize how important it can be to treat it. Having a basic understanding of what causes that pain can help you manage it better.
The Basics of Back Pain
Lower back pain affects millions of Americans, and can be acute (lasting from a few days to a few weeks) or chronic (lasting 3 months or more). Whether it’s caused by a sudden injury or simply by long-term stress, acute back pain is almost always mechanical in nature—the result of trauma to the back or a disorder like arthritis. It can even radiate to other parts of the body, making day-to-day motion extremely difficult. It is important to speak to your doctor before you start any treatment as there are many causes of back pain.
Thankfully, most low back pain can often be treated without surgery through the use of exercise, stretching and various medications, among other techniques. Here are just a few ideas on how to manage back pain:
Rest, exercise and stretches — Bed rest, for a day or two at the most, may help relieve your back pain. Plus, proper exercises to strengthen the muscles around the area, and stretching to keep the tendons flexible, can all give you some relief.
Medication — Effective pain relief may involve a combination of over-the-counter and prescription remedies. You should always check with your doctor before taking medication, as certain pills can cause drowsiness, pregnancy complications, even liver damage.
Acupuncture — This practice involves the insertion of needles the width of a human hair along precise points throughout the body. Practitioners believe this process triggers the release of naturally occurring painkilling molecules and keeps the body’s normal flow of energy unblocked.
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Talking to your Doctor
When it comes to treating back and body pain, there are a lot of things to consider. Here are a few questions you may want to have prepared when you visit your healthcare provider for treatment:
- Can you tell me exactly what’s causing this pain?
- How long can I expect this pain to last?
- How will treatment of my back pain affect other medications I may be taking?
- Can you recommend a physical therapist or alternative treatment provider that can help?
- What exercises can I do to help relieve my pain and strengthen my back?
Preventing Back Pain
A diet high in calories and fat can make you gain weight. Too much weight can stress the back and cause pain.
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and Body tips >