Backache; Low back pain; Lumbar pain; Pain - back; Acute back pain; Back pain - new; Back pain - short-term; Back strain - new
To get better quickly, take the right steps when you first get pain.
Here are some tips for how to handle pain early on:
While sleeping, try lying in a curled-up, fetal position with a pillow between your legs. If you usually sleep on your back, place a pillow or rolled towel under your knees to relieve pressure.
A common misbelief about back pain is that you need to rest and avoid activity for a long time. In fact, bed rest is NOT recommended.
If you have no sign of a serious cause for your back pain (such as loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness, weight loss, or fever), then you should stay as active as possible.
You may want to reduce your activity only for the first couple of days. Then, slowly start your usual activities after that. Do not perform activities that involve heavy lifting or twisting of your back for the first 6 weeks after the pain begins. After 2 - 3 weeks, you should gradually resume exercise. See: Taking care of your back at home
Begin with light cardiovascular training. Walking, riding a stationary bicycle, and swimming are great examples. Such aerobic activities can help blood flow to your back and promote healing. They also strengthen muscles in your stomach and back.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are important in the long run. However, starting these exercises too soon after an injury can make your pain worse. A physical therapist can help you determine when to begin stretching and strengthening exercises and how to do so.
Many people benefit from physical therapy. Your health care provider will determine whether you need to see a physical therapist and can refer you to one in your area. The physical therapist will begin by using methods to reduce your pain. Then, the therapist will teach you ways to prevent getting back pain again.
If your pain lasts longer than one month, your primary care health care provider may send you to see either an orthopedist (bone specialist) or neurologist (nerve specialist).
If your pain has not improved after use of medicines, physical therapy, and other treatments, your doctor may recommend an epidural injection.
You may also see a massage therapist, someone who performs acupuncture, or someone who does spinal manipulation (a chiropractor, osteopathic doctor, or physical therapist). Sometimes a few visits to these specialists will help back pain.
Many people will feel better within 1 week after the start of back pain. After another 4 - 6 weeks, the back pain will likely be completely gone.
Call your health care provider right away if you have:
Also call if:
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