Back pain is frequently a part of relocation. Even if you have professional movers do much of the work, back pain lurks within every heavy box. You try to be careful, but at some point, you twist the wrong way. At some point, a heavy object slides out of control, and you catch it. Back pain attacks.
Back pain not only attacks while preparing to move, but is also aggravated if you then drive for several hours. You may feel it as you drive. You may sense it when you stop. You are sure to know about back pain the following morning.
Relief While You Heal
You back will likely heal without a surgeon’s intervention. While it heals, you can relieve back pain with a variety of techniques.
For most back pain, a program of rest, hot and cold compresses, exercise, therapy, and pain medication, will relieve pain while you heal.
Rest: You need rest when you have back pain to allow your body to heal. Complete rest is a mistake, however. It is important to maintain as much of your normal activity as is comfortable. When you get up and move around, you ease stiffness and relieve back pain.
Compresses: Both heat and cold can help in relieving back pain. Each can be used separately. For greater relief, alternate 20 to 30 minutes of heat with 20 to 30 minutes of cold.
- Heat relaxes back muscles by dilating blood vessels. The dilated vessels supply more oxygen to the affected area, which reduces muscle spasms and relieves the back pain. Use a heating pad on medium high setting, or a hot compress from a first aid kit. Be careful when applying heat to your lower back. Prolonged periods of constant heat to the lower back region can adversely affect organs in the abdominal area. Do not sleep with a heating pad on your back. Do not apply heat more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
- Cold reduces the inflammation of back pain. Injury or arthritis usually have inflammation, and cold decreases the blood vessel size, decreasing blood flow to the area. Applying cold compresses or ice packs to the back pain area is helpful. If you have no regular ice pack such as is sold in pharmacies, wrap a bag of ice, or a bag of frozen peas, in a towel and apply it to the back pain. Do not apply to bare skin, and do not apply more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
- Alternating heat and cold is probably the best way to relieve back pain. Each has its purpose, and you will benefit from both.
Exercise: Stretching exercises are important, even though you may feel as though you don’t want to move when you have back pain. Exercises reduce stiffness, and may relieve compression on the spine. Exercises will also strengthen core muscles to prevent further injury and back pain.
Therapy: If your back pain is severe, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. This will include exercises, and massage to relieve the back pain. Massage is used as an attempt to stimulate blood flow to the affected area, and relax back muscles.
Pain Medication: Finally, you may want to use non-prescription pain medication for back pain. Medications such as aspirin and acetaminophen are meant for general back pain relief.
CAUTION: The foregoing information is for educational purposes only. Please see your doctor if your back pain remains after a couple of weeks, or if you have other accompanying symptoms.