Experts estimate that about 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. While seeing a doctor is the best way to find out the cause of your back pain, there are some things you can do at home to help manage the pain.
Ice First, Heat Later
If you injure yourself or have persistent pain after an activity, ice is a good option. Ice is best for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury because it reduces inflammation and slows down nerve impulses. Be sure to only ice for 20 minutes at a time.
Warmth might help relieve some of the pain, but it does not help the inflammation. In fact, direct heat can make the inflammation worse, which may lead to an increase in pain. After the inflammation goes down, heat can stimulate blood flow to the injured area to start the healing process.
Indirect heat like warm Epsom Salt baths can also help sore backs. The magnesium sulfate in the salts can make its way through the skin to the muscles to help relieve pain. Just make sure the water is between 92 and 100 degrees.
Rubs, Gels, Creams, Ointments, and Patches
There are many types of topical medications for back pain. Some ingredients to look for include:
- Ketoprofen (Diractin)
- Ibuprofen (Nurofen or Dolgit)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren)
- Lidocaine (Lidoderm)
- Brazilian arnica
Some products contain capsaicin, the heat-producing substance in hot peppers. When rubbed on the skin, the capsaicin can help stop nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain, thus reducing the pain.
When using these products, you should test them in a small area first to make sure the cream isn’t going to irritate your skin. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also a good over-the-counter option for back pain, but should not be taken long term without talking to a doctor first.
Concentrate on Posture and Movement
The spine is designed to move, so make sure you’re not sitting still for too long. For those who sit at desks all day long, it’s important to get up throughout the day and stretch out your muscles. Otherwise, they’ll become stiff, and if you suffer from back pain, that could only make it worse.
When you are sitting, make sure your posture is good. If it isn’t, this could be a contributing factor to your back pain. A good chair can help with your posture by keeping your spine aligned.
Our bodies need sleep to rejuvenate and restore itself. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach since this puts pressure on the spine. If you choose to sleep on your back or side, use a pillow between or under your knees to keep the spine aligned.
During the day, try not to stay in bed for long periods of time. It’s better to keep moving so your muscles don’t stiffen up. If your back pain wakes you up a night, lasts longer than six weeks, gets worse, or comes with weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs, it’s time to see a doctor.
The professionals at Tampa’s B3 Medical can help diagnose the source of your back pain and help you find relief. Make an appointment today.
A herniated disc, which is also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, can happen anywhere along the spine, but typically happens in the neck or lower back.
The discs are soft pads between the bony vertebrae that allow the back to bend and absorb shock. When the inside of the pad, which is called the nucleus, bursts through the outside part called the cartilage, it puts pressure on the nearby nerve, which is what causes the severe pain.
There are some home remedies that can be used to help manage the pain, but these are only temporary solutions. A proven way to relieve the pain within a matter of weeks is through non-surgical treatments.
Managing the pain from a herniated disc with home remedies is a good temporary option. Resting and staying away from activities that cause pain can help the most. However, resting too long can sometimes cause stiffness and pain, so make sure you’re mixing in some movement and not just lying in bed for days at a time.
Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help to relieve pain and inflammation. Muscle relaxants can also help but should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription. The same goes for oral steroid medications.
Heat and ice are good options for pain management if you’d rather not take any medications. Ice can ease the inflammation and muscle spasms that can sometimes be caused by a herniated disc. Ice works best for spinal pain. Acute disc pain symptoms should be treated with ice only. Heat can be used in chronic conditions but is best saved for the extremities.
Physical therapy is a viable non-surgical option. Sometimes, over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease the pain enough for patients to go through a series of physical therapy treatments. The physical therapist will work with patients to target exercises that can help the disc heal and hopefully keep it from herniating again.
Strengthening the muscles that support the neck and back can also help relieve some of the stress on the herniated disc and relieve pain.
Injections of corticosteroids and other medications can help to relieve pain and work best when paired with other non-surgical options like physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic care.
Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care
Massage therapy helps the body heal itself naturally by increasing blood circulation and relaxing the muscles, which results in pain relief. Chiropractic care can also have the same affect through the utilization of spinal manipulation techniques.
Most herniated disc symptoms go away after about six weeks, but in some cases, surgery may be the only option. If the pain comes with numbness or weakness, difficulty standing or walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control, surgery might be the only answer.
The team of professionals at B3 Medical in Tampa will work to relieve your pain through our non-surgical treatment options before suggesting surgery. Make an appointment today to discuss your pain and treatment options.
Knee pain can impact your everyday life and keep you from doing the things you love. Knowing what can cause it can help you prevent it.
An injury can cause knee pain as can a medical condition like arthritis, gout, and an infection. Some mechanical issues can also cause knee pain.
Common Knee Injuries
The knee area contains many parts including ligaments, tendons, bursae, bones, and cartilage. Injuries can happen to any or all of these areas.
Common injuries are:
- ACL tear- These happen frequently when playing sports that require sudden direction changes.
- Kneecap fracture
- Meniscus Tear- Tears happen when suddenly twisting the knee while weight is on it.
- Knee bursitis- When the small fluid sacs cushioning the knee joint get inflamed, pain can happen.
- Patellar tendinitis- The tendons connecting muscles to bones can get inflamed. People who run, ski, cycle, or jump a lot can develop this injury.
Knee Mechanics Issues
Sometimes, the way the knee and surrounding muscles and bones function can cause knee pain.
A piece of bone or cartilage can break off and float around the joint. It can cause pain if it gets close to the joint itself.
Iliotibial band syndrome and hip or foot pain can also impact the knees. Iliotibial band syndrome happens when the tissue that connects the outside of the hip to the outside of the knee becomes really tight. It rubs against the femur causing pain.
You may be changing the way you walk if you have hip or foot pain. That might be putting more stress on your knees, causing pain.
Many different types of arthritis can also impact the knee.
Preventing Knee Pain
All of us are not destined for knee pain. There are some ways to prevent it.
A healthy weight can help reduce stress on your knees. Every extra pound can hurt your joints and accelerate the breakdown of cartilage around the knee joints, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.
Make sure to stretch often, especially before playing sports. Make sure your technique is good and you practice often. Lessons with professionals can help make sure your technique is proper. Conditioning is a good way to keep from injuring yourself. Don’t suddenly change the intensity of your activities. This can hurt your knees. Build up to new levels of activity.
Tight and weak muscles contribute to injuries, so staying strong and flexible are keys to preventing knee problems. Building up quadriceps and hamstrings can also help since they both support the knee.
If you play sports, proper knee guards and braces can protect these joints.
If you have chronic knee pain or injuries keep happening, you might need to change the way you exercise. Find something with a lower impact like swimming or water aerobics. Reducing the higher impact activities could allow your knees to have a bit of a break.
Also, make sure you’re wearing good shoes with a proper fit. Shoes that do not fit correctly or do not provide adequate support can make knee problems worse.
If you have knee pain or want to learn more about preventing it, the medical professionals at B3 Medical can help. Educating patients is a key to their ability to make the right choices for their health. Contact us today to get rid of your knee pain.
For an active person, an injury can really mess things up. It can mean watching while others seem to be having all the fun. Getting back in the game can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
How to Take Care of a Sports Injury
Find Out What Happened
Did you overdo it a bit and hurt yourself or is it an injury? If the pain does to not go away with the standard stuff like rest or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, go to a doctor and get a diagnosis.
Playing through pain can cause more damage down the road. Ignorance is not bliss. Do not ignore pain.
Once you find out what happened, make sure you understand the diagnosis, so you can hopefully avoid doing whatever you did to injure yourself.
Don’t blame yourself. It happened, and you can’t change it. You are the only one who can improve the situation, so focus on recovery rather than how the injury happened.
Stick to the rehab plan your doctors put in place. Don’t just jump right back in once the pain goes away.
Knowing how long the recovery will take can help you better understand the injury and your expectitations.
Understand Your Emotions
Taking care of the physical problem is only one part of coming back after an injury. Don’t forget about your emotional health. If you’re used to running every day and suddenly you can’t, that will feel like a loss. You may feel angry, sad, or even depressed.
An injury takes away some control over your situation, and stress and anxiety can often creep in. Understanding this can help you stay in control.
Try to stay positive and listen to what your doctors and your body are saying about your recovery. Focus on milestones you are achieving, not how it differs from what you used to be able to do.
Are there other activities you can do during your recovery? Another way to be physically active might help you feel better and stay motivated.
Maybe simple modifications to your exercise routine can help you stay in shape. Trainers, therapists, and doctors can help you figure out what can work and what you should avoid.
Set goals about how you can get back to your regular routine. Monitor the progress towards the goals to improve your confidence.
It’s also not a bad thing to rest. Many people have a tendency to over-train and don’t build much rest into their schedules. Forced rest can be good for the body and mind. Take advantage of it. Work on relaxation skills, set new goals, and focus on yourself.
If your running group is your social life and suddenly you can’t run you need to find alternatives. Even though you can’t participate in the activity, don’t isolate yourself from friends, coaches, and teammates.
Try to maintain contact with them. They can listen and offer encouragement. Who knows, maybe they have had an injury sometime and can help you recover from yours.
The trained professionals at B3 Medical can help diagnose your injury and help you along the road to recovery. Make an appointment today.