The bad news is back pain afflicts as much as 80 percent of American adults. The good news is that the vast majority of cases can be treated without surgery and patients recover with full functionality. While there are many home remedies, the following treatment options have proven effective. Just remember, every individual is unique so what works great for Aunt Sally may be ineffective for Uncle Joe, requiring a little trial and error.
While the application of cold and hot compresses has actually not been scientifically shown to be a cure for lower back injury, compresses can reduce inflammation and provide increased mobility for some people. To get maximum benefit, cold should be applied as soon as possible following the trauma or start of pain. If you don’t have a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel works just as well. Apply several times a day for no more than 20 minutes.
Warms baths can also help relax muscles but experts warn against sleeping on a heating pad, which can burn skin and damage tissue.
A study conducted in Finland found that bed rest may not be a particularly good treatment option. Participants who continued to be active without bed rest following onset of lower back pain retained better flexibility than those who rested in bed for a week. Other research suggested bed rest might actually make the pain worse and have secondary consequences such as leg blood clots. If you feel compelled to rest, keep it to a minimum of a day or two.
Study after study strongly suggests that exercise may be the most effective and quickest way to recover from many bouts of lower back pain and to prevent recurrence by strengthening muscles in the back and abdomen. And the exercise doesn’t mean training like you going to the Olympics. Practitioners recommend walking, swimming, Pilates, yoga, and stretching.
Some individuals swear by acupuncture and acupressure, which is believed to release naturally occurring painkilling molecules in the body called peptides. And there has been success reported using biofeedback to treat back pain.
All of these treatments can be used to complement regular treatments from your local chiropractic practitioner, who can design a treatment program that meets your individual needs. In most cases, prescription drugs should be avoided is possible and surgery by far should be the treatment of last resort. Recent studies show that invasive procedures do not have a high success rate, on top of being expensive and inherently risky.