Have you ever hurt your back and thought, I’ll just rest or walk it off, it’s probably just a pulled muscle? You take some Tylenol and hope it goes away, but it still hurts, weeks later. You go to the doctor and he gives you a prescription and tells you to rest. Unfortunately, his advice didn’t help for too long and now you are really worried it could be something more serious, and sometimes it is.
It becomes worse, turning into chronic pain that just doesn’t go away. What are you to do now? I will go over a few things that I learned after years of trying to find pain management for chronic back pain, and why you do not have to suffer.
Reasons For Your Pain
Maybe you really did just pull a muscle from moving the wrong way. But when your pain becomes chronic, meaning it isn’t going away, it can be something worse. Our back is made up of bones called vertebrae. They are on top of one another and connect to protect the spinal cord. There are disks in between each vertebrae made up of cartilage with a gel like substance in the middle.
These disks could become herniated, which means the gel like substance is leaking out. This could be due to an injury or just age. As we age, the disks degenerate, losing water content, and our bones become brittle. This herniation can press on the nerves anywhere in the spine, leading to shooting pain down our extremities. I had a significant fall from an attic, broke three ribs and hurt my back. I didn’t realize at the time it would become much worse. The pain would not go away no matter how much I rested or how much Tylenol I took.
The end result was 2 disks in my lumbar(lower) region becoming herniated. I had diagnostic tests done eventually which showed this was the case. The doctors gave me muscle relaxers, shots of cortisone into my spine, nothing was helping. The first doctor early on said I needed to have a laminectomy, which is where they remove a part of the bone, leaving room for the nerve. This was my first back surgery, it did not help.
Fast forward 2 years later, my pain was unbearable. Two more MRIs and the doctor said I needed a spinal fusion. This was not the news I was hoping for, but I knew it was coming. The recovery was long and intense, now I have arthritis in my back, the pain isn’t too bad on a day to day basis, and I have found some things that really help, without having to take a lot of medication. I will be sharing these with you here. ( Links lead to products on Amazon)
Back Pain Heat Or Ice?
If you are suffering from back pain, you may have heard to ice the injury, or use a heating pad. Let’s look at both sides of this method. When you initially injure your back or neck, there is most likely some swelling, so for the first 24-48 hours, you want to ice the area. Make sure to place a towel between your skin and the ice so your skin doesn’t get ice burned. This should also reduce some pain.
A heating pad can be used for continuing the healing process. There are also analgesic creams and gels that contain menthol and other cooling ingredients. I found that VicsVaporub works great for this as well, it contains much of the same ingredients as some other creams and gels, like Ben-Gay for instance.
Back Pain Exercises At Home
It hurts, I know, but you cannot heal by just staying in bed or without physical activity. Even stretching can do some good. There are some back pain exercises you can do at home that may help.
- Partial Ab Crunches – Do not do full sit ups, it is not good for your back
- Hamstring stretches – Lying on the floor on your back, place a towel around the middle of your foot. Bend one knee, straighten other knee pull up on the towel raising your leg, you will feel a stretch down your leg.
- Wall slides – Stand with your back against the wall, slowly slide down the wall, you don’t have to go all the way down, just about half-way.
- Knee to Chest – Lie down flat on your back and knees bent. Slowly lift your knee to your chest as far as you can.
- Aerobic Exercise- Aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular health and keeps the body in motion, as long as you’re not twisting and touching your toes, this would be ok.
- Exercise Ball – Try sitting on an exercise ball and in the sitting position do partial crunches. You can also roll around using your hips in the same sitting position.
It is not fun being in pain all the time, and although there may be no way to be completely pain free, these exercises can help stretch the spine so you can regain your range of motion. If your pain is higher than a 3 on the pain scale, I would for sure be seen by a physician. I was in terrible pain for years, then after my spinal fusion, around a year, my pain was minimal. The problem I have now is the arthritis, and bursitis in my hip. I use these methods to help my pain subside, as well as CBD, which you can find in another article here on my site. I am currently researching how can help my bursitis without getting injections. I will soon be putting out an article concerning that. I hope this article helped in some way. Remember to always talk to your doctor if you are having really bad pain. Thank you for reading, and as always please comment. I would love to hear your thoughts!
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