Low Back Pain: When You Need to See a Specialist
Low back pain can be frustrating. It can limit your activities or completely sideline you from daily life. At some point in time, almost everyone experiences some form of lower back pain. Maybe you overdid it at the gym, or you bent wrong when picking up those heavy boxes; or maybe those long hours in front of the computer are taking a toll. Regardless of the cause, there are a few simple things you can do at home to help relieve and prevent lower back pain.
These simple tips from the experienced team at Spine Surgery of Idaho can help both prevent and manage lower back pain.
Apply Cold and Hot Packs
Cold and hot packs, when used correctly, can relieve your lower back pain and help the healing process. Cold packs applied to the area of injury help reduce inflammation and act as a painkiller. Cold packs should be used during the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury to manage the initial inflammation. Cold packs also work well immediately after a workout that might aggravate the injury site.
Hot packs stimulate blood flow to the area, which can promote faster recovery. They also cause the muscles to relax to minimize pain. After the first 48 hours, use whatever works best for you in terms of pain management – cold or heat.
Stretch Your Hamstrings
Your hamstrings are the muscles found on the back of your upper legs. When those muscles are tight, they put added stress on your lower back, increasing the pain. A simple way to help relieve lower back pain is to gently stretch your hamstrings 2 – 3 times a day.
For an easy hamstring stretch that you can do anywhere, start by standing with your feet together. Step your right foot back about two feet and bend forward from the hip, keeping your back and both legs straight. Bend only as far as comfortable, rest your fingertips against the wall or on the ground for balance. Hold for 30 seconds, switch sides. This should be a gentle, easy stretch.
Develop a Support Team
Your lower back can’t do it alone; it needs the support of the surrounding muscles to stay properly aligned. To prevent future bouts of lower back pain, take the time to develop the muscles that support your lower back. Strong muscles in your hips and abdomen take the stress off your lower back as they all work together to bend and lift. For most people, these muscles don’t get a good workout on a daily basis. Talk with your doctor or trainer to develop an exercise program that fits your physical ability and addresses your specific needs.
Be Kind to Your Lumbar Region
Your lower back is the lumbar region of your spinal cord, and it’s a spot on our bodies that we often take for granted. Our lower back feels the pain of prolonged sitting and poor posture. Be kind to your lumbar region by giving it the support it needs while you’re sitting. If your chair or car seat doesn’t support the curve of your lower back, you can place a rolled towel or small pillow to provide the needed support and alignment. There are many lumbar cushions available for purchase that are designed to provide the support your lower back needs. A little proactive lumbar support could prevent your next bout of lower back pain.
These tips can go a long way in managing everyday lower back pain. It’s important to know the difference between simple low back pain and pain that requires a doctor visit. Please call your doctor if your low back pain is severe, doesn’t go away after a few days, or hurts even when you’re resting or lying down.
If you live in the Idaho Falls area and you are experiencing back pain, trust Dr. Marano at Spine Surgery of Idaho. He and his team offer a complete range of spinal care treatments. Call 208-522-6930 to schedule your appointment or use our convenient online request form.