Back injuries are among the most common, but most debilitating of injuries. Whether you have strained your back at work, during a leisure activity or from sleeping uncomfortably, or injured it during a sports activity, you will most likely want swift treatment to regain your full physical capacities.
While you will require immediate medical care, lifestyle modifications are the most effective means of treating a wounded back.
The following steps will aid in appeasing back pain, and eventually treating the condition altogether.
Methods to Recover From a Back Injury
1. Assessing The Back Injury
Though the pain from a back injury may feel like it’s shooting through the entire back, there will be a particular focal area of the strain. Assessing it will require gently pressing on your spine with fingers, starting with the mid-lower back and slowly sliding upward.
It may be most effective to have someone do this for you. Once you have established the main area of pain, try and describe it using “descriptors” such as “burning, dull, stabbing, sharp, throbbing etc.”
Keep a record of this for self-assessment of your recovery process and to ensure that the correct back injury treatment is chosen for you. Should the pain be sharp, consider immediately seeking medical assistance.
2. Get Plenty of Rest
Most back injuries result from either muscle strain or exhaustion. Both of these problems can be treated with ample rest. Consider spending a couple days in bed with minimal movement, and use a heat pack while maintaining comfort.
Although some people say moving around can ‘ease’ their muscles and joints and make them feel a bit better, when suffering from an injury it is very important that you do rest it and allow your back muscles time to fully recover.
3. Apply Heat Or Ice
Should resting not improve your back injury pain after several days, try to apply ice or heat to your back.
Ice is particularly effective straight after incidents which may cause immediate inflammation. A fall, for example, could cause immediate bruising, and swelling significant of inflammation.
A cold flannel or some ice cubes will appease the throbbing and help reduce the swelling. Heat should be used later in your recovery. Try applying a heating pad 3-4 days after the injury to avoid contributing to the inflammation.
Ensure you do not apply the heat directly to your skin. Instead, use a thin towel or piece of cloth to cover the heat source and offer a barrier between the warmth and your skin.
Some over-the-counter creams also work as chemical heating agents, which warm up the muscle, maximise blood circulation and appease mild pain.
4. Begin Rehabilitation Therapy
Rehabilitation therapy for a back injury will involve massages and exercises from a physical therapist or chiropractor, which will slowly ease the pain. If you are suffering from a work-related injury, physiotherapy will be covered by your insurance or the company’s insurance coverage.
You may also want to get into an exercise routine with a chiropractor or osteopath. These trained professionals will provide you with an adjustment in your back, through stretching or weight-bearing that will change the position of discs in your spine.
This can immediately appease pain, or lead to gradual improvement of your strain.
5. Visiting a Chiropractor
Chiropractors can provide treatments for all sorts of back pains, including pain from a back injury. They use different methods (both manual and physical) that help to ease pain and restore movement and improve blood flow in your spinal joints.
Chiropractors may also recommend exercises to help a back injury and to strengthen and provide stability to the problem area.
Before undergoing treatment, a Chiropractor will firstly talk through your medical history and then perform a ‘physical examination’.
Thereafter, the Chiropractor will decide which will be the most suitable treatment and be most effective to treat your problem. The manipulation of the spine may sound scary, but is actually considered safe, especially for acute low back pain.
When instructing a Chiropractor, it’s important to make sure that they have a lot of experience and are approved by NICE guidelines (National Institution of Clinical Excellence). Hiring an experienced Chiropractor is certainly worth giving a go when suffering from a back injury.
6. Adjust Your Sleeping Position
Once you have noted improvements in your condition, you may need to work on preventive measures to avoid further straining of your back.
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs can reduce the level of stress on your spine and prevent further pain.
You may also consider switching to an orthopaedic mattress. They are designed to provide full spinal support while lowering the amount of weight born by the lower back.
If you are still suffering with pain from a back injury, after trying all of these options then it would be a good idea to return to your doctor and seek further medical assistance, including surgery as a last option.
However, most people can find help from rehabilitation services and chiropractic services, so they are definitely worth a try.
Just make sure they discuss your medical history with you first to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment or service.
By Kathryn Morris, Health and Lifestyle Blogger