Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the U.S. It’s estimated that around 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, and for many, it makes doing routine day-to-day tasks a challenge.
From an occasional ‘twinge’ to agonizing or debilitating pain, whatever pain you feel, you shouldn’t try to tough it out. If you experience sudden back pain, you should do something to treat it immediately before it worsens.
In this article, we’re going to cover 10 ways to manage sudden back pain to set you on the right path. If you explore one or more of these suggestions, we’re sure you’ll be free of back pain and back to enjoying an active life in no time.
How To Handle Back Pain Daily
There are several ways you can manage sudden back pain. Some people will respond better to certain treatments, so it’s always worth keeping an open mind and trying more than one solution. If you avoid taking action, you run the risk of experiencing chronic back pain and possibly degenerative disc disease. Whether you feel the pain from a pinched nerve or herniated discs, relieving pain and seeking solutions must be your priority.
Here are 10 of the most common and effective ways to help you manage sudden back pain:
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage sudden back pain. More importantly, regular exercise will help keep back pain at bay in the future.
Exercising your back helps reduce stiffness, keep the tendons and connective fibers flexible, and reduces the amount of stress your spine is under.
You do need to know which exercises are best for the type of pain you’re experiencing, however. You wouldn't want to exacerbate your problem with additional muscle strained or unnecessary nerve compression. A chiropractor or physician can advise on the best exercises for you.
2. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors specialize in non-surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. They typically use manual manipulation techniques to identify the source of the pain and resolve it.
They have a specialist interest in back and neck pain, but will also assess your entire physical and emotional wellbeing.
It’s a great option if you can’t or don’t know how to deal with the pain yourself. Chiropractors will also use many other techniques mentioned in this list, so it’s a good way to cover several bases.
3. Change Your Diet
Some foods are highly inflammatory and can cause back pain. Typically, foods that are high in trans fats and refined sugars are the worst culprits.
Alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and even some fruits can also cause pain for some people. It’s worth consulting with a doctor specializing in this area, as it can be difficult to narrow down which foods may be the cause.
Start by choosing foods with anti inflammatory properties, such as water and turmeric. It’s also a good time to evaluate your general lifestyle and diet choices. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help reduce back pain by relieving the pressure on your spine.
Yoga is one of the most effective ways you can reduce back pain, and lower back pain in particular.
Many yoga exercises strengthen and stretch the muscles that support your back and spine. If you have ever taken a class, you may have heard the instructor talking about stretching the spinal cord or increasing blood flow to a certain part of the body. Yoga can also help you discover where the source of the pain is, enabling you to work on those areas and restore balance.
A word of caution; yoga is also the source of back-related injuries when not done correctly. Always seek out a professional yoga teacher and explain where you’re feeling pain.
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for back pain. It’s a low-impact form of exercise, and the water buoyancy helps support your weight, which alleviates pressure on your spine.
If swimming is too painful or difficult, stretching and spending time in the water is still beneficial.
6. Massage Therapy
The American Massage Therapy Association has published research showing that massage therapy can help resolve back pain in many ways.
Massages improve blood circulation, which speeds up recovery from muscular injuries and soreness. It also increases flexibility and range of motion and stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals like endorphins.
7. Laser Treatment
While not one of the more common treatments for back pain, there is a good deal of scientific evidence that laser therapy can provide quick pain relief.
Laser therapy decreases the sensitivity in your back's nerves, so you feel less pain. It also stimulates your body to produce endorphins, much like massage therapy.
It’s as quick and as simple as a technician targeting the area where you’re feeling pain with a handheld laser.
8. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the best ways to better understand why you’re experiencing back pain and what you can do to manage it.
A physical therapist will show you how to maintain a better posture, move in ways that will lessen your back pain, and show you some exercises you can do to help your specific type of pain.
For many people, being able to talk with a professional and explain their back pain is a huge help as they know they’re on the right track.
9. Medical Marijuana
The laws for obtaining and using medical marijuana vary across the country. If it’s legal where you are, such as in Florida, you should consider it as an option to curing your back pain.
It’s a relatively new form of pain medication. Still, there is a growing body of scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana effectively relieves back pain.
Best of all, marijuana is not as addictive as traditional painkillers and has less known side effects.
Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine and dates back more than 2,500 years. It involves inserting tiny needles into specific points across the body.
According to Chinese medicine, the purpose of acupuncture is to create a path of free-flowing energy called “Qi” around the body. The scientific viewpoint is that the needles trigger the release of chemicals and stimulate the central nervous system.
Studies show that acupuncture is effective at treating back pain, so it’s a form of alternative medicine to consider.
As you can see, there are more than enough ways to manage sudden back pain. You should be able to find a technique that works best for you.
If you have any further sudden back pain questions about back pain, our FAQ addresses the most commonly asked questions we get from patients.