Whenever I am asked to write about back pain relief the first thing I think of is back pain prevention. Obviously there will be times, for whatever reason, that we all have back pain but if a person is truly conscientious about caring for their back, those times should be few and far between. Maintaining the spine is just as important as regular dental, eye and health check-ups, and seeing your Garland chiropractor regularly, even if you don’t have pain, is one of the best things you can do for your back and your overall health.
Now, I’ll get straight to the point.
If you find yourself having back pain due to an accident, overwork or excess stress, there are a number of things you can do at home to help calm the pain. Of course, the first is to schedule a visit to your local Garland chiropractor. However, in the event that your schedules prevents you from making it into our office for day or two, let me offer a few tips to help ease the pain in the meantime.
First, most pain (back or otherwise) is due to inflammation in the joints and tissues. The spine itself doesn’t have any pain receptors, but the surrounding muscle tissue sure does. To relieve the inflammation (and the pain) there are first two things that we need to figure out. Is your pain ‘acute’ or is it ‘chronic’?
Acute pain is pain that has come on suddenly and chronic pain is pain that you have had for a while, usually more than a few months and sometimes years.
- For acute pain you need cold therapy. The easiest thing to do is take a 2 liter water or soda bottle and put it in the freezer. After it’s really cold (but not frozen solid) wrap it in a light towel (ice applied directly on bare skin is a no-no) and lie down on it with the bottle resting in the small of your back. This will chill the area, reduce the inflammation, and also help increase the low-back curve. You can do the same for the neck but with a smaller bottle.
- If it’s chronic pain that you have, heat will help. An easy way to safely apply heat is to soak a small towel in water, wring out the excess water, and microwave it until it’s hot. Not too hot, of course, as we don’t want to create 2nd degree burns. Roll the hot, wet towel up into a tube and do the same as above for either the low back or neck. Placing it flat on the mid back is okay too.
- Another home remedy that’s super easy is to first chill the pain, as above, and then take a hot shower for 10 minutes, lightly stretching the area as you do. After the hot shower, go back to the cold therapy, and then another hot shower. One more time each should be enough to calm the pain greatly and leave you feeling better. You can do each, cold therapy and hot shower, for 10 minutes at a time.
- Light stretching can be very helpful if you can manage it, making sure not to over-exert yourself or make a bad situation worse. Lightly stretch from side to side, back and forth, and in a twisting motion, being very careful of course. Your best bet would be to do this after the hot or cold therapy when the pain is diminished, but be careful.
- Most people have heard that bed-rest is good for back pain but in most cases I disagree. Getting up and walking around, if the pain isn’t too severe, is the best thing to do. It will loosen tight muscles and help lubricate the joints.
And one last bonus tip… Drinking lots of water is also essential, and there are several anti-inflammatory supplements like Tuna Oil and Boswellia that you can take too. Remember that healing takes time and that the pain may persist for a few days. Again, if you haven’t done so already, a good adjustment or two is probably needed to get you ‘back to normal’. Contact us to schedule an appointment.