A common problem among people of all ages is when the lower back aches. However the bone and muscle structure loses elasticity and strength as people age, making them more prone to back injuries. Improper posture, excessive weight, degenerative diseases and stress are among some of the many causes of lower back pain. Depending on the cause treatment can be a long expensive procedure. Self diagnosis is akin to being crazy, but there are times and situations when the lower back aches, that immediate relief is required. There are several methods by which a person can find easy, safe relief immediately.
The use of a heating pad can be soothing for lower back pain caused by fatigue or muscle spasms. A heating pad equipped with a gentle massage can provide relaxation and almost instant relief. When using an electric heating pad use it for 15 to 20 minutes and always set it to low or medium; never set it on high. Never fall asleep with the heating pad turned on. Another caution on the safe side is to set the alarm clock for 20 minutes. Using moist heat via soaking in a hot bath, taking a nice hot shower, or applying a hot pack is even better. There are also all day heat wraps that can be found at any pharmacy.
To relieve pain from the swelling and inflammation caused by arthritis, injuries or other conditions, ice and cold packs may be used. Ice packs are available at any pharmacy or they can be improvised with items that are readily available at home. (1) Place ice and water in a plastic bag; squeeze the air out, seal the bag; wrap it in a towel and place it on the area that’s in pain. (2) Wet a towel with cold water, squeeze it until its damp, fold the towel and place it in a plastic bag; freeze the bag for 15 to 20 minutes; then remove the towel from the bag and place it on the painful area. These are just some of the pain relievers to be found around the house. Icing should be performed at least 3 times a day for 10 to 15 minutes and always keep a damp cloth between the cold pack and your skin.
If the lower back aches another choice is to alternate between hot and cold, using heat for 15 to 20 minutes and a few hours later using ice for 10 to 15 minutes.
Most of the available non-prescription painkillers include naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and ketaprofen. Over the counter drugs can help to reduce pain and are available without prescription. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor regarding what to take for lower back pain.
Injuries can occur over time due to bad posture which places undue strain on the lower back. Standing with the ears, shoulders and hips in alignment, the abdomen and buttocks pulled in, the knees relaxed and the feet placed firmly, shoulder width apart with the body weight placed evenly distributed is proper standing posture. When sitting, the lower back should rest against the back of the chair and the chair’s seat should be at a height so that the hips and knees are at the same height, with the feet flat on the floor. Use a footrest if necessary.
For temporary relief from the pain of an injured or strained back a person can just lie on the floor with a pillow under the knees. Remember that while some rest is necessary, the back needs to be exercised. So while this action eases the pain, it shouldn’t be considered the solution because without exercise and movement the muscles and ligaments will only tighten and cause more pain in the long run.
Stretching is necessary to retain muscle elasticity and bone flexibility. Even the most minor of activities can trigger lower back pain, especially when the back is stiff. Vigorous workouts aren’t for everyone, but stretching should be. Take a break to walk around and stretch every 20 to 30 minutes when working. Stop every hour or two when driving long distances; get out of the car and spend a few minutes stretching. When at home all day, take a 30 minute walk every day paying attention to posture.
When the lower back aches some of the simple and safe techniques may ease the pain, but when the pain is chronic or prolonged a doctor needs to be consulted for whatever treatment and medication is necessary.
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