Back pain is a potentially debilitating condition that affects a remarkably high percentage of Canadians. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, 4 of every 5 Canadian adults will experience back pain at least once in their lives and, according a 2012 survey conducted by the Ontario Chiropractic Association, almost 20 per cent of Ontarians reported that their back problems were chronic. While back pain is most often caused by muscle/ligament strains or disc degeneration, there are a number of other possible causes. However, regardless of the cause, pain is the common denominator. If you or someone you know is suffering with back pain, the following tips might help make coping that much easier:
- GIVE IT A REST: Resting for short periods of time can help to alleviate the pain. However, bear in mind that staying in bed for more than one or two days can actually make your back pain worse and can lead to stiff muscles, sore joints as well as other challenges.
- STRENGTHEN SUPPORTING MUSCLES: Certain activities or exercises can also help to alleviate back pain and prevent future incidences by strengthen the muscles in your back and abdominal region. Stretching, walking and swimming are some common activities that are known to help however, depending on what’s causing the pain in your particular case, you may need to more specific/targeted exercises.
- CONSIDER MEDICATION: There is a variety of both over-the-counter and prescription back pain medications available. As always, remember to check with your doctor before taking any medications for back pain; particularly if you’re taking any other medication or if you have any other pre-existing condition (even I you’re not currently taking medication for it).
- GO COLD, THEN HOT: If you’ve just been injured, apply an ice pack or cold compress as soon as possible. Do this several times a day for up to 20 minutes at a time for about two or three days. After two or three days, switch to a heat pack to help relax your muscles and increase blood flow to the area. Of course, a warm bath also provides similar benefits (and can also be a great stress reliever).
- WORK IT OUT: Massage therapy can be an effective way to help relax tight muscles and alleviate pain, especially when used as a part of an overall pain management and treatment strategy (it’s also great for overall relaxation and stress relief).
If you’ve been suffering with back pain, the above tips can certainly help make your day-to-day experience more tolerable. Just keep in mind that every person and every type of back pain is different and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you. Also, while managing pain is important for getting through the day, focusing on the root cause or causes rather than just the symptoms is the key to ensuring that the condition doesn’t persist or even get worse. Need help? Don’t hesitate to let us know. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.