Back Pain: How to Find Relief and the Best Back Pain Relief Devices
Your back is involved in everything you do. It serves as an anchor point for most of your movements and your spine serves as the neural highway between your body and your brain. Everything, from lying down and watching TV to running a marathon, involves your back. That means that even the smallest back pain can bother you no matter your position.
Here’s your ultimate guide to back pain and how to find relief. Learn where it comes from, how to make it go away, and how to prevent it.
What Causes Back Pain?
Back pain can be caused by illness, strain, poor posture, structural problems in the back, or any combination of these.
Back Pain Caused by Illness
Some illnesses can cause back pain, including:
-Cancer of the spine
-Infection of the spine
-Pelvic inflammatory disease
-Cauda equina syndrome
Because your back is so close to major organs, it’s also not uncommon for patients to interpret an internal illness as back pain.
Back Pain Caused by Strain
Every exercise relies on the back. Even leg and arm exercises are connected to the back because they require correct posture and good form to be done correctly. When your back muscles are pushed beyond their ability, they strain, pull, or tear, which causes back pain.
Muscle strain is not only caused by lifting heavy objects. Depending on your mobility and health levels, it’s possible to strain your back muscles by doing menial tasks like trying to pick up a dropped sock or even sneezing.
Back Pain Caused by Poor Posture
Your back is made up of 33 vertebrae and 40 muscles. It can bend, twist, and contort while also being strong enough to support the lifting of weights. There are many moving parts in your back, and back pain can happen when all of those parts aren’t where they’re meant to be or as strong as they should be.
Poor posture forces your bones and muscles to be in a position where they cannot provide the support and strength you need, which can lead to back pain.
Back Pain Caused by Structural Problems
With so many bones and muscles involved in a person’s back, there are more chances for one of those pieces to become damaged or have a problem. Some structural problems that can cause back pain include:
How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Serious?
Back pain is common, and most people have experienced symptoms from the dull hum of sitting in the same spot for too long to the sharp pain of a sprained muscle. How do you know when the pain is bad enough that you should get some help? Here are 12 signs your back pain is serious enough to seek professional help.
1.The pain has stayed at the same level or has gotten consistently worse for an entire week.
2. You’re unable to sleep or rest.
3. The pain has extended to other parts of your body.
4. In addition to the pain, you’re experiencing numbness, tingling, or weakness in any part of your body.
5. You’re having problems controlling your bowels and/or urination.
6. There’s blood in your stool or urine.
7. You’re experiencing sexual dysfunction.
8. You have balance problems.
9. Along with your pain, you experience sudden and unexplained weight loss.
10. You’re running a fever.
11. There’s a sudden spike in pain or discomfort. If you’re unable to comfortably walk through the pain, get help.
12. You’ve been in an accident of any form (even small domestic trips and falls).
Listen to your body and give it the support it deserves. If you think something is wrong with your back and need help, get help.
How Do You Know If Back Pain Is Muscular or Spinal?
When your back hurts, it can be tricky to determine where it’s coming from. How do you know the difference between muscular or spinal back pain? Here are a few ways to differentiate the pain’s origin.
Spinal Back Pain
Pain starting in your spine will feel like a burn or an electric jolt. Pain will feel like it’s shooting from your back and down into your leg into your lower back, glutes, and legs. Spinal back pain can also manifest as a weakness in your legs or feet, which is a major sign that you should seek medical attention.
Muscular Back Pain
Muscle issues that cause back pain tend to be more localized. The pain stays in the same area of your body and doesn’t move, shoot, or jump from one muscle group to another. Depending on the severity of the muscle damage, you can experience pain in certain positions or even while at rest, but the pain remains stationary.
What Is the Fastest Way to Relieve Back Pain?
The fastest way to relieve back pain is pain management medication, but this is not a healthy or long-term solution. You cannot turn to a pill every time you experience pain.
The biggest problem with turning to medication to alleviate pain is that pain medications only cover up and dull the feeling of the pain; they don’t actually address its cause. If you tear a muscle or rupture a disk, pain medication can help your brain ignore that pain, but the pain will return as soon as the medication is gone.
Here are five fast ways to address and relieve your back pain for minor injuries without turning to medication:
Gentle Exercise and Stretching - The right kind of movement in a gentle amount can help your back feel better. This helps keep blood flowing to the injured area and helps your muscles avoid seizing up, which will only cause more pain.
Hot & Cold Treatments - A great way to help with any ache or pain is a mix of hot and cold therapy. Depending on your pain and its location, hot and/or cold treatments will help reduce swelling, improve blood flow, and alleviate discomfort.
Sleep - Your body is an expert at healing itself if you give it the time it needs. Your back can relax and heal naturally by resting your body in a neutral position (not sleeping on your side, sprawled across your bed, or in a ball).
Meditate - Your daily stress levels can heighten back pain. Take some time to learn how to breathe and meditate to help lower those stress levels and unclench the muscles in your back.
Change Your Shoes and Your Chair - If you spend most of your day on your feet or in a chair, it’s time to update. Your shoes and chair act as the foundation for your entire body throughout your day. Just like sitting in a worn-out, cheap office chair can kill your back, your old pair of work boots that you’ve been wearing for years can do the same thing. Updating your shoes and office chair helps your back have the foundation and support it needs to function properly.
What Is a Good Back Pain Relief Medicine?
If you’re struggling with back pain and reaching into your medicine cabinet, here’s what you need to look for.
1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often the first medicine reached for and is a good option for short-term and mild pains. This disrupts the pain but doesn’t help your body resolve or heal any of the issues causing your back pain.
2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like aspirin, ibuprofen (like Motrin) help fight swelling and fever. Because these drugs help reduce swelling, they’re a good option for longer-term pain.
3. Muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone, or tizanidine are very good at resolving back pain, but they are prescription medications. They carry risky side effects like dizziness and drowsiness but help lower the pain by easing spasms in your back muscles.
What Is the Best Position to Sleep in If You Have Back Pain?
How you sleep will directly affect your back’s health and comfort. The best position to sleep in to reduce back pain is on your back.
For the best results, avoid piles of pillows and a mattress that is too hard or too soft. Instead, you want to use a medium-firm mattress, a single pillow to support your neck and head, and a single pillow placed under your knees to support your legs.
While sleeping on your back is the best option, some people have a hard time falling and staying asleep while in that position. If you’re a side or stomach sleeper, there’s still hope for your back.
Side sleepers, your goal is to have your spine straight and parallel with the ground, while still free to have its natural curve. To do this, you’ll need slightly more give in your mattress to allow your body to sink into the bed to support your shoulders and hips.
To help reduce pressure on your hips and fight lower back pain, sleep with a pillow between your knees. When you’re picking out a pillow, make sure that the pillow is firm enough that your ear is in line with your shoulders.
If you choose to sleep on your stomach, your spine may sag from its neutral position and hurt your back. A small flat pillow in your midsection or under your hips can help prevent that and alleviate your back pain.
Upper Back Pain Relief
No matter if your upper back pain is caused by poor posture or an injury, here are a few exercises that can help you recover faster and experience less pain as you heal.
Make sure to do any exercise or stretch in a slow and controlled manner. If you feel any pressure or pain, pull back. You don’t want to compound your back pain by pushing too hard.
Lower Back Pain Relief
Here are a few stretches and exercises that can help alleviate your lower back pain.
Is Walking Good for Lower Back Pain?
Walking is a great option for some people who experience muscular strains and fatigue. The movement gently stretches your back muscles and alleviates pain. However, walking can put unwanted strain on already damaged muscles from more serious injuries and trauma.
Before you make any health decision, you should always speak to your healthcare provider to get personalized instructions about the best solutions for your pain.
How Long Does it Take for Lower Back Pain to Heal?
Luckily, most mild cases of back pain go away on their own in a few days. For more painful cases where a patient has to visit a healthcare provider, and the pain is debilitating enough that they’re unable to work, the patient usually needs a week or more of rest to heal fully.
Back Pain Relief Devices
There is a wide range of back pain relief devices you can use. Here are some of the most common devices to help you reduce and even prevent back pain.
- Posture correctors - There are a variety of devices, straps, and necklaces that can help improve your posture. Not only does better posture help relieve existing back pain, but it also helps prevent future back pain.
- Lumbar stretchers and wheels - These tools help your spine decompress and stretch, which can help reduce and even eliminate back pain.
- Percussive massager - If your back pain is caused by sore, tender, or knotted muscles, these massagers help relieve tension and improve blood flow to targeted areas.
- TENS devices - A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device powers small electrical impulses to electrodes directly into your skin, targeting the sensory nerves. The electric current stimulates nerve cells that block the pain signals, making the localized pain feel less while also raising the level of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. TENS devices temporarily relieve back pain symptoms; they do not prevent back pain.
- NMES corrective therapy - Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) sends electrical impulses to muscles, causing the muscles to contract and flex. It provides a controlled setting where you can work with specific muscle groups to lessen pain and prevent future back pain. Unlike TENS devices, an NMES back pain relief device is designed to treat the underlying causes of back pain and thus prevent it.
Learn More about NeuroMD Back Pain Relief Device
Rather than just covering up the pain, NeuroMD uses NMES therapy to help treat and prevent back pain. Our back pain relief device helps improve your lower back health, which can help your back feel better now and in the future.