Back pain is a very common problem, and most of us will suffer from it at some point in our lives. The cause of back pain can vary from person to person; hence it is important to identify what might be causing your back pain. Most people injure their back by straining muscles or ligaments, however some back problems can build up over time, and be triggered by a sudden movement. Some cases of back pain settle with simple treatment, while others need more specialised care.
It is important to seek advice from your Doctor or Advantage Pharmacist if your back pain consists of any of the following:
- Lasts longer than a few weeks, is severe or recurring;
- Develops gradually and slowly gets worse over days or weeks;
- Is not eased by lying down or resting;
- Is associated with a fall or injury;
- Makes you completely immobile;
- Needs continual pain relieving medicine for more than a few days;
- Develops and you have osteoporosis or you take corticosteroid medicines;
- Is associated with other symptoms (e.g. tingling or numbness, joint pain and swelling, leg weakness, bowel or bladder problems, fever, or weight loss).
The treatment for back pain depends on the cause. If you are uncertain, it is best to seek medical advice from your Doctor to help you determine the cause of your back pain and provide you with advice on the best treatment for you.
Applying a hot or cold pack to the painful area may help to ease your back pain. For convenience, a stick on heat pack such as Nurofen Back Pain Heat Patches, may be applied onto your clothing and provide you with up to 12 hours of constant heat in that area. You may also like to try and have a hot bath to help relax and soothe any aching muscles. Radox Muscle Bath Salts are made with a unique blend of herbs and minerals and can be added to your bath to provide additional relief.
Simple pain relieving medicines and anti-inflammatory medicines, gels and creams can be useful in relieving back pain and are available from your local Advantage Pharmacy. Anti-inflammatory medication, such as Nurofen Back Pain Tablets and Voltaren Emulgel, are helpful in reducing any associated inflammation with your back pain and may provide you with rapid, targeted relief. For some people who would prefer a preparation more gentle on the stomach or cannot take an anti-inflammatory preparation, a paracetamol product (e.g. Panadol Back + Neck Long Lasting) would be a preferred option.
Natural supplements, either taken on their own or in combination with the above pain relieving medicines, may aid in the relief of back pain. The mineral magnesium assists in the normal functioning of muscle and nerve tissue, and may help to relieve muscular pain and spasm. BioCeuticals Ultra Muscleze Powder contains a high dose of magnesium in a specialised mineral delivery system which may provide optimal natural muscle relief.
Local creams, gels and oils may be used to provide a sensation of warmth, which may be comforting in painful back pain. Products such as Dencorub Pain Relieving Cream or Goanna Heat Cream effectively combine natural and pharmaceutical ingredients to deliver a soothing and penetrating heat cream. If massage is required, the use of an oil based product, such as Elmore Oil, is easy to massage into the affected area and may provide you with quick and effective relief. Elmore Oil contains four natural ingredients, blended in a unique process to enhance their potency, and is directed to be used twice a day for the relief of back pain.
- Try to have your bed mattress on a firm base and use a low pillow.
- Sit, walk and stand with a balanced, relaxed posture. Prolonged bed rest is not ideal to improve your back pain, hence it is important to remain active to the extent you can.
- Wear low-heeled shoes with arch supports and cushioned heels.
- Stop any activity that causes pain or leg numbness or tingling.
- Keep to a healthy body weight.
- Learn and practise regular strengthening and flexibility exercises with a physiotherapist.
- For good posture, stand tall, rest shoulders down and back, tighten your stomach, tuck your bottom in and soften your knees.
- To lift a load, bend at the hips and knees, with feet apart. Hold the load close to your body, tighten your stomach muscles and lift by using your legs, keeping your back straight. To turn, move your feet, do not twist your spine. Get some help or use equipment if the load is too heavy for one person to manage.