Is back pain stealing your life?
One moment, life is going great when suddenly, BAM! Your back hurts so much you can barely get out of bed.
Living a life with back pain doesn’t just hurt physically, it takes an emotional toll as well. Not being able to go to work, canceling on family events, and letting friends down, can be stressful and scary.
It’s especially terrifying if you don’t know what to do when you hurt your back. Not knowing why the pain is happening or how to make it go away, can make the situation feel hopeless.
Yet, there is good news for back pain sufferers out there everywhere. Whether your pain is new or something you’ve been handling for years, there are things you can do today to get instant relief.
Read on to learn what you should do when you hurt your back.
What to Do When You Hurt Your Back
Did you wake up to a stiff or achy back? If so, you might be wondering if you should go see a doctor, or if this is something you can handle on your own.
The good news is that every time you have back pain, it doesn’t automatically mean you need to see a doctor. That’s why the very first step you should take when dealing with back pain is to decide if a doctor’s visit is in order.
1. Decide If You Need a Doctor
In many cases, if you take the right steps, back pain will go away on its own. Yet, what about the other times when a doctor visit is in order?
Here’s a shortlist of types of back pain that require immediate medical attention:
- An injury caused your pain
- Back pain is so severe you can’t move
- You’re experiencing numbness
- A fever is accompanying the pain
- Unexplained weight loss occurs
All of the issues above can be life-threatening. If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms, go ahead and schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
However, if your back pain doesn’t have any of the symptoms above, you might not need any medical help. Instead, there are easy, at-home solutions, that can make even the achiest back feel like new again.
2. Rest Your Body
When our body sends out pain signals, it’s trying to let us know that something isn’t working correctly. Whether you’re experiencing deep pulsing waves of pain or sharp knife-like attacks, your body wants you to bring your attention to your back. In many cases, all your body is trying to tell you to do is rest, and give it a chance to heal on its own.
Here are some common causes of back pain that rest can help with:
- Overexertion through exercise
- Inflammation from stress
- A small muscle tear
- Tight knotted muscles
If you have a very busy schedule, resting might seem like the last thing you’ll be able to accomplish. Yet, don’t worry, you won’t have to rest for weeks and weeks, to get the relief you need.
Simply resting your back for a day or 2, can be enough time for your body to heal, and your back pain to disappear. During the resting period, you should lay horizontally in bed and use small pillows to support your lower back.
Once the resting period is over you can begin to slowly introduce physical activity back into your life. Start small, like moving around the house for a day, and maybe a short 5-minute walk.
Then the next day, you might be ready to go back into the office, and you can take a slightly longer walk. Day after day you can slowly begin to return to your normal routine, while also including a little bit of low-impact exercise like walking.
2. Cold and Hot Therapies
Do you suspect your back pain is the result of inflammation? Or perhaps you think the culprit is a pulled muscle?
Angry muscles can terrorize your entire body. Muscle spasms, lack of blood flow, and more can all result from inflammation, or muscle strains.
Luckily for you, using heat or cold can instantly help relieve the pain, while also helping the body heal. In some cases, all it takes is one application of either heat or ice, for the pain to go away completely.
Yet, the tricky part is knowing when you should use heat, and when you should use ice.
When to Use Heat or Ice
As a general rule of thumb, you should use ice for injuries that are less than 6 weeks old and heat for injuries that are more than 6 weeks old. You should also avoid using heat for acute injuries because it can delay healing by causing inflammation.
Power of Ice
When you use ice it will constrict the blood vessels in your body. As a result, pain becomes numb and your body starts getting relief from the inflammation. Using ice can also help prevent bruising from occurring.
Power of Heat
When you use heat, the blood flow begins to increase in your entire body. The increased blood flow then helps relieve joint pain, while also relaxing tight muscles. Heat is also great to use to help with stiffness after the inflammation goes away.
Preventing Back Pain
Now you know more about what to do when you hurt your back. Deciding if you need to see a doctor, resting your body, and using heat or ice, are great steps towards being able to feel whole again. Yet, wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to deal with the back pain in the first place?
One of the best ways to prevent back pain from occurring is by leading a back healthy lifestyle. Eating protein-rich foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep at night, puts your body in the best position to fight off pain.
Are you ready to spice up your fitness routine but need a little inspiration? Go ahead and check out our lifestyle section for the best health and fitness tips today!