Lower back pain is a difficult injury to heal. Humans use their back muscles for everything; from sitting, standing, laying down, walking, exercising or pretty much any movement you can think of. A lower back injury can be debilitating and painstakingly slow to recover from. Whether you were injured in a vehicle accident, while playing sports or simply lifting something wrong, the pain can keep you from a lifestyle that you are accustomed to. Try to follow a few simple steps to help regain your lower back health and your life.
Things You'll Need
Immediately After Injury: Use Ice. Do not use heat within the first 72 hours of injury. Heat increases the inflammation response which can increase the amount of pain you feel. Ice will help soothe the inflammation and calm the muscles and nerves that are spasming around your injury.
Get to a Doctor ASAP: Although your physician may not be able to "fix" you immediately, you can start a course of treatment to help alleviate your pain symptoms. Whether your doctor recommends rest, physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture or exercise to fix your back, make sure you go over all of your options before leaving the doctor's office. If you do not feel comfortable with the diagnosis- ask for a second opinion; after all, a back injury can be life-altering and if you wait too long the damage may get worse.
Getting treatment: Whether you are going to one of the practitioners listed above or are participating in some other form of treatment, remember- if the pain increases, STOP. The old adage "No Pain, No Gain" does not apply. Pain is the body's natural way of telling you to stop or that you have gone too far. Your body hurts because it is trying to protect the injured area- listen to it, it knows what its doing!
Avoid surgery if possible: Oftentimes people who have disc injuries or muscle injuries are not good candidates for surgery. How many people have you ever heard of who recovered 100% from a back surgery? Take those same people and ask how many have had multiple back surgeries. The latter of the two is probably the greater number in most cases. Surgery is not always the answer, and although we want instant gratification and want to heal right away, you have to understand that it may just take a lot of time for you to heal or get back to a normal lifestyle. Surgery can be very difficult on the body and may not be the right course of action. If your physician recommends surgery immediately, make sure to understand the reasoning, the diagnosis and the probability of recovery. Ask questions, take notes, ask for a second opinion and try to see specialists if possible.
Therapy really does help: Although you may have had a bad experience with therapy, or you know someone who has- therapy really can work wonders. There are several different types of therapy, so you will need to find the one that works best for you. A variety of therapies include: physical therapy, massage therapy, pain management, exercise / strength training, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, aromatherapy, reflexology, spinal decompression, traction, herbal therapy, hypnosis and other holistic remedies. Try the ones that are covered by your insurance first. If you find that those types of therapy do not help, then start to explore your other options, or a combination of other options to find out what works best for you.
Have a support system: Friends, family, a spouse, children, a pastor, a physician, a neighbor or even an online forum or chat buddy can all help you through this difficult time. Make sure you have someone you can talk to about your frustrations, your pain, your concerns and just know that you do not have to go through this ordeal alone. Depression oftentimes becomes a part of a back pain sufferer's life which can increase the amount of suffering in your life and can slow down or decrease the effectiveness of treatment.
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