Despite the growing number of pain medication, and “miracle” exercise machines advertised on T.V. and in magazines, there are no “quick fixes” for low back pain. Antiquated recommendations for bed rest, taking it easy and using heat are not only unhelpful, but tend to make acute and even chronic low back pain worse.
To make matters worse, not only are there no “quick fixes” for low back pain, but recent studies have shown that there probably is no “cure” for low back pain, either. Case in point, this episode of low back pain you are experiencing now is probably not the first time, and unfortunately it won’t be the last.
On the bright side, most low back pain is self-limiting, meaning if you do a few things right, it will generally “fix” itself over time. In fact, most cases of low back pain (85-90%) are due to non-specific mechanical factors- meaning there is no specific reason for the pain, and it is most likely due to something you are doing such as poor posture, computer work or a bio-mechanical dysfunction, i.e. incorrect lifting mechanics.
In fact, for as scary as low back pain can be, less than 2% of all low back pain is caused by serious disease, i.e. tumors, fractures, infections or some serious medical condition. Furthermore, less than 10% of low back pain is due to nerve root compression where a disc bulge is compressing the nerve.
For cases of low back pain, a recent campaign in Great Britain called Working Backs Scotland recommends:
1. Stay Active
2. Try Simple Pain Relief
3. If You Need It, Get Advice
Staying active would mean avoiding bed rest, and doing things like walking and engaging in those activities that are typical for your daily life. Yes, it’s going to hurt, but the overall benefit of pushing through the pain far outweighs the long term risks associated with inactivity.
As far as simple pain relief is concerned, ice is usually the most effective way to manage pain related to inflammation. In addition to this a number of Spine Sparing Strategies can prove to be helpful. There are also a number of natural pain remedies that can provide a great deal of relief over time, as well as using electronic devices such as TENS units (physiotherapies).
If after a few days things are not getting better, or if low back pain is related to a direct traumatic event such as a car accident, or a slip and fall, it would be best to see your chiropractor or medical doctor as soon as possible. Sometimes just having the doctor listen to you, and perform a quick examination can provide enough reassurance to help you through your pain. Paragon Chiropractic is always available to answer your questions and would be happy to help in any way that we can.
Despite being painful, most low back pain is not serious, and within a few days many people begin to feel better and are interested in learning how they might prevent similar episodes from re-occurring in the future. Click on to our Therapeutic Exercises/Rehab link to discover ways to self-manage low back pain.