Back injuries can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and recovery can take a significant amount of time. One of the reasons that back injuries are difficult to treat is that an accurate diagnosis is made nearly impossible without a list of symptoms. As the patient it is your responsibility to properly document back pain symptoms since it will help with the diagnostic process.
Some back injuries will have an obvious cause such as a sports injury or a car accident. But often back injuries have a less apparent reason. For example you may experience agonizing pain after lifting an object but that may not be the injury that caused the back pain, but rather the injury that simply aggravates it.
Effectively treating back injuries is as important as the diagnosis for long lasting relief.
At the onset of back pain due to an injury you will experience inflammation in addition to pain. Immediate relief should come in the form of hot/cold therapy. This will help reduce the pain during the rest phase of your recovery.
To relieve pain and reduce swelling patients often rely on chemical treatments such as medication but there are also natural supplements with anti-inflammatory properties.
Choosing Back Injury Treatments
It is important that you find a back injury treatment that works for you, as ongoing back pain can have damaging side effects. Back pain can cause patients to miss many days of work and it often leads to depression when the inability to participate in everyday activities becomes too much to handle. Days of rest or limited mobility makes patients feel out of touch and melancholy, extending the recovery period.
Before you and your physician settle on a treatment plan it is important to identify when the pain began, the severity of the pain and when the pain is mildest and most severe. As soon as you the back pain begins, the first course of action is inaction, that is to say you should be resting. Most physicians recommend at least 2 days of rest but no more than 4 days to relieve pain and tension in the back.
While resting is essential to the healing process, too much rest can have a negative impact on your ability to treat a back injury. Rest as much as possible during those first few days as it will help you document your symptoms and other important patient in the days leading up to your doctor’s appointment.
During the days of rest it is important to use back pillows to provide support and pain relief. During the day, it is recommended that you lie on your back with pillows placed under the head and knees. At night it is advised that you sleep with a pillow sandwiched between your knees to relieve muscle tension.
Once the period of rest has ended, light stretching and physical activities should commence. Low impact activities such as swimming or walking will help strengthen and soothe the muscles without causing additional shock to the injured portion of the back. Many back injuries occur when the body’s natural shock absorbers begin to deteriorate, and exercises such as these allow you to exercise without worsening the injury.
Physical therapy is an important factor in treating back injuries because you will receive a regimen of targeted exercises and stretches to heal your particular back injury. The exercises provided by a therapist will work to strengthen weak muscles due to a muscle imbalance and relieve tension due to a sprained or strained back muscle. If at any time during the physical therapy the back pain worsens, your therapist may recommend that you adjust the intensity as well as the number of repetitions you complete each day.
Muscle balance therapy is a common type of therapy for back injuries because it introduces targeted exercises to strengthen the weak muscle without putting too much stress on the stronger side. If you perform repetitive activities such as typing, golfing or driving, your back injury could be due to a muscle imbalance.
Treating back injuries cannot be done overnight; it is a process that can take a few as 2 weeks or several months depending on the severity of the pain.