THE BASICS OF BACK AND MUSCLE PAIN
What’s going on back there?
Your search for relief from back and muscle-related pain is a common one. Truth is that as much as 80% of us will experience back pain during our lifetime.1 It’s one of the most common reasons for doctor visits and work absences, and is one of the leading causes of disability around the world.2
Thankfully, if the pain is minor there are steps you can take on your own to remedy the discomfort and even help prevent future episodes from interrupting your life. With simple home treatment and proper body mechanics, your acute back pain should resolve within a few days to a few weeks. If your pain is severe, gets worse, lasts longer than 10 days, or you have any questions about your condition, please consult your doctor right away.
WHAT’S BEHIND IT?
Common symptoms of back and muscle pain
Aches and pain anywhere on the back, neck, shoulders and even down in the buttocks and legs is a not-so-subtle sign of back pain. Neck and low back pain are more common than upper and middle back pain due to the fact that the bones do not flex as much in this region, but pain can still be an issue with the muscles themselves. Frequent overall back and muscle pain indicators include:
The 2 causes of back and muscle pain
Acute pain is the most common type of back and muscle pain, which can develop quickly and last six weeks or less. This is generally the result of mechanical issues or soft-tissue damage like muscle strain. Some of the most common causes for acute back and muscle pain include:
Poor posture (i.e. hunched over a smartphone, tablet or PC)
Prolonged sitting (places more pressure on the spine than standing or walking)
Muscle sprain or strain
Injury / trauma
The less common type is chronic back pain and generally lasts more than three months. If your pain is severe, worsens, lasts longer than 10 days, or you have any questions about your condition, please consult your doctor right away.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
Finding relief at home
The majority of minor low back pain occurrences can subside with careful attention and at-home remedies. A bit of rest, applying a heat compress or ice pack, and over-the-counter medications like Aleve Back & Muscle Pain can likely have you comfortably back on your feet within a few days. Some of the more frequently recommended home remedies include:
Limited rest. Although it’s always best to keep your body active, quality bed rest is quite helpful. Be mindful to limit rest to a few hours at a time and no more than a couple of days.
OTC pain medications. In addition to any of these home remedies, over-the-counter medications such as Aleve Back & Muscle Pain can aid in the relief of back and muscle pain by targeting it at the source. Aleve Back & Muscle Pain is indicated for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains when used as directed. Make sure to always check with your doctor before taking any medication.
Ice and heat. Apply a cold compress or ice pack immediately after back pain arises to numb the area and help prevent/reduce swelling. Roughly 48 hours after the onset of pain, apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to soothe and relax muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area.
Exercise / stretch (particularly core muscles). Strong, flexible muscles are less susceptible to injury to begin with. Normal physical activity can help aid the pain, and helps prevent future problems with back and muscle pain. Be mindful to avoid movements that aggravate the pain.
Good posture. Poor posture can make back pain even worse, particularly if you remain seated for long periods of time. Try to sit upright, shoulders relaxed, with your body supported against the back of your chair. Also, try not to hunch over your keyboard, and make sure your feet remain flat on the floor.
Stand more. As sitting for lengthy periods can place more stress on your spine, it’s important to take a break from the chair and stand on occasion.