Dealing With Lower Back Discomfort

September 14, 2022
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Lower back discomfort can result from several issues. It can result from an injury, poor posture, or an underlying medical condition. Regardless of the cause, there are some things you can do to ease the pain and keep it from getting worse. The right treatment for you will depend on whether a traumatic injury caused your pain (e.g., when lifting or twisting) or natural wear and tear due to physical activity, aging, and arthritis. Some patients notice a difference when they take over-the-counter medication, while others suffering more chronic pain can only benefit from minimally invasive spine surgery.
Whether you hurt your back playing a sport or bending over to pick something up, we know how nagging lower back pain can get and have compiled some useful tips for combatting this issue. As you read on, please keep in mind that most home remedies are not a suitable substitute for professional medical care.

Ice and Heat Treatments

Ice and heat are ancient treatments that continue to do the job in the face of many modern innovations. We advise patients who are hesitant to try over-the-counter or prescription painkillers to seek relief using alternating ice and heat treatments. Warm baths also go a long way in relaxing aching and inflamed back muscles.
Applying ice to your painful lower back will bring immediate pain relief while reducing any inflammation caused by injury or poor posture. It would help if you wrapped an ice pack using a thin towel to insulate your skin and then hold the ice pack against the painful spot several times a day for about twenty minutes. After several days, switch to similarly using a heating pad to relax your lower back muscles and improve blood flow to the area.

Sleep Right!

Even though sleep gives the back time off from its job of carrying our upper body weight, some patients awake to find their lower back pain worse than when they dozed off. Lower back pain can be traced to a patient’s sleeping habits, posture, and mattress quality. Back pain tends to create a vicious cycle that keeps you up at night due to the pain, only for the pain to get worse due to sleep deprivation. When you catch some Zs, ensure you do not settle into a poor sleeping position that will exacerbate your back pain.
Lie on your side and place a pillow between your knees to maintain your spine in a neutral position. Sleeping with your spine in a neutral position is a surefire way to relieve the strain your back undergoes when supporting the weight of your upper body. It is advisable to sleep on a firm and comfortable mattress. Consider investing in a bed that properly distributes your body weight and offers your spine and back some much-needed relief.

Maintain Good Posture

Our teachers and parents stress the importance of good posture throughout childhood. Unfortunately, adults are not reminded often enough not to slouch or slump over their keyboards. Poor posture is guaranteed to increase your back pain because it causes improper spinal alignment that may cause pinching of certain nerves, which in turn sets your lower back on fire.
Whether standing, sitting, or walking, maintain an upright posture with relaxed shoulders. Office workers should ensure they use ergonomic chairs that support their weight evenly. Our patients have reported a degree of relief when placing an additional backrest or makeshift backrest (e.g., a rolled towel) between their lower back and seat. After improving your sitting posture, put your feet flat on the floor and position your computer (or book) at the center of your desk so you can work without leaning in and straining your back.

Get Moving

At face value, it may sound ridiculous (or even cruel) to recommend exercise for lower back pain. However, science came in a long time ago. No more bed rest for aching backs. Lying still is amongst the worst options for you. Resting a sore back will likely increase your back pain and cause other complications. It is important to note that not all exercise is appropriate for lower back pain. You should take it easy and engage in basic activities like walking, swimming, and yoga. The goal behind training for lower back pain is not to work up a sweat but rather to stretch and improve blood flow to the affected areas. Please consult your doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer before undertaking vigorous exercise while suffering back pain. The last thing you want to do is make it worse.

Physical Therapy

Most people erroneously assume that physical therapy is a preserve for patients who have suffered grievous bodily harm and need help reacquiring mobility skills. We find that physical therapy is a very effective way of treating back pain and preventing the injury from getting worse over time.
Your physical therapists will show you how to keep your spine aligned and strain off your back when sitting, standing, and moving. Ask your therapist for special exercises that will strengthen and engage your core muscles. A strong core is a secret to preventing future back pain by increasing your strength, insurance, and flexibility over time.

Regular Professional Massage Sessions

While most clients are skeptical about the effectiveness of a massage once you walk away from the massage table, it has been proven that consecutive weekly massages for ten weeks reduce pain and increase mobility for patients suffering from back pain. These benefits existed for over six months before beginning to decline gradually. If you haven’t already, book a licensed massage specialist for a weekly back massage that will relieve spinal structural problems, thus reducing pain and restoring mobility. Do not hire unlicensed massage therapists because they may do more harm than good in the long run.

Nerve Stimulation

Nerve stimulation is a new kid on the block regarding back pain treatment options. The research is still being concluded on the effectiveness of certain treatments to stimulate your nerves to reduce lower back pain. We only recommend this method and other unconventional therapies (like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and acupuncture) to patients who have not received the desired relief from conservative medical treatments. Nerve stimulation blocks incoming pain signals from reaching the nerves using mild electric pulses.
Research is being conducted on treatments stimulating nerves to reduce chronic back pain. Your doctor may consider adding acupuncture to your treatment plan if you aren’t finding relief with more conservative care. Another method your doctor might suggest is (TENS), during which mild electric pulses are delivered to the nerves to block incoming pain signals.

Get Expert Help for your Lower Back Discomfort Today

Matters of health should never be taken lightly. If you’re experiencing lower back pain, don’t wait to get help. Visit us at https://tennesseespinesurgeon.com/ to learn more about your options for managing lower back discomfort before it evolves and becomes chronic.

Dr. Juris Shibayama,
300 StoneCrest Boulevard #300 Smyrna Tennessee 37167,
615 267 6600

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In Short Words

Dr. Juris Shibayama is an orthopedic surgeon in Smyrna, Tennessee and is affiliated TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center. He received his medical degree from University of Illinois College of Medicine. He did his orthopedic residency training at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. He then completed a one year fellowship dedicated exclusively to spine surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He has been in practice 13 years.

© 2022 | Juris Shibayama, M.D., Orthopedic Spine Surgeon