What Is the Fastest Way to Relieve Back Pain?
Back pain is debilitating because your back is the foundation for everything you do. Lying down and trying to rest can aggravate your injury and cause you to cringe in pain. Rather than waiting around, learn how to make back pain go away fast with these seven tips.
If you’re struggling to relieve back pain, the absolute fastest way is with oral medication. When you injure your back, the muscles contract and tense around the traumatized area to try and prevent further injury. The tension created by this is a significant cause of back pain.
Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil) helps your muscles relax and unclench, which helps reduce pain. Most over-the-counter NSAIDs also come with minor painkillers that help further numb your back pain.
It’s important to understand that NSAIDs and other oral medications are only pain blockers. They will stop you from feeling the pain, but it does not fix or heal the injury. If you use oral medication, remember to be careful with your back and avoid lifting or twisting until you have given your body time to heal fully.
2. Medicated Creams
Topical creams, oils, and ointments can help numb, reduce swelling, heat, or cool muscles.
Lidocaine cream (like Bengay) is a local anesthetic that blocks pain signals being sent from the injured and treated area to your brain. Like oral medication, lidocaine cream doesn’t help heal the injury or trauma causing your back pain, but it can help reduce the pain and make it bearable.
Methyl salicylate cream (Icy Hot) starts by dilating the blood vessels in the treated area, creating a sensation of warmth that can relax the muscles and reduce pain. After that, it irritates the nerve endings in the targeted area, creating a minor sense of tingling. This disrupts the pain signals sent from the injured site and can reduce or stop the ache.
Cannabidiol (CBD) cream is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic product, making it an excellent solution for back pain.
3. Ice and Heat
While you may think one is more important than the other, a mix of heat and cold therapy is one of the fastest ways to relieve back pain.
Start with cold therapy. If the pain is coming from a new injury or you have acute pain, lowering the area's temperature will constrict the surrounding blood vessels. This helps reduce swelling, decreases inflammation, and even serves as a minor numbing agent.
Wrap a cold compress or ice pack in a towel to protect your skin, and keep the ice pack applied for 10 to 20 minutes. Avoid using a cold treatment for longer, as this can damage your skin. Additionally, because ice constricts the blood vessels, applying too much cold can significantly reduce essential blood flow to the injured area, slowing down the healing process.
After applying cold treatment, let the injured area rest for at least ten minutes. This is essential to allow the tissues to warm up and prepare for the heat.
Next, you should apply a warm compress to the injured area for 10 to 20 minutes. Warming the area will help promote blood flood to the injury and loosen any tightened or constricted muscles. While heat can be relaxing, you should never fall asleep with a heating pad on, as this can damage sensitive tissues and burn your skin.
Some people can benefit from alternately submerging the affected area in warm and cold water. Rinse and repeat.
4. Reduce Stress
How you live your life directly impacts your body. Consistent and frequent exposure to a high-stress environment can add unwanted tension and strain to your back. While removing the stressful environment might not be possible, especially if it comes from your work or home, you can change how you prepare and react to it.
You don’t have to be a monk in an isolated monastery to meditate. You can meditate anywhere, even on a noisy bus. Meditation is all about redirecting your attention inward and taking stock of your emotions and feelings. While that’s easier in a quiet environment, anyone can learn how to meditate and feel the benefits of relaxation and mindfulness.
Daily meditation can provide a deep state of relaxation. As your thoughts and emotions relax, the tension in your body will go with it, and your back pain can follow.
5. Physical Therapy
When your back is in pain, the last thing you want to do is move, stretch, or exercise, but movement can be one of the fastest ways to relieve back pain. When you start moving, starting slow and with low weights is essential. Ease into any exercise you do, and do not push yourself too hard because it’s easy to compound an existing injury that will only worsen your back pain.
Some of the best exercises and stretches you can do to help reduce lower back pain can be done in the comfort of your home. Stretching will help relieve tension in your back and improve mobility, improving blood flow to your back and reducing your pain.
6. Chiropractic Treatment
For severe injuries to your back, the fastest way to get relief from back pain is to go to a professional. Chiropractors are experts in the spine and back, and treatment can help reduce pain intensity, improve function, and reduce the level of pain and the need for pain medications.
7. Be Mindful of Your Posture
Your back and spine are strong and flexible and can stand up against some pretty solid abuse, but your bad posture can be continually wearing down your back, leaving it an easy target for pain and injury.
If you have poor posture, it can feel uncomfortable or unnatural to sit, walk, or even sleep with correct posture, but be patient. By focusing on your back and ensuring that you are letting your back and core support your body correctly, you will feel less pain and be at lower risk for a back injury.
As annoying and painful as back pain is, the good news is that if you take things slow and rest at home, your back will heal on its own. For most people, relaxation paired with moderate stretching and exercise will be enough to get rid of back pain within two weeks.
When to Visit a Doctor
If your back pain lasts longer than two weeks, becomes more severe, or stops you from performing your everyday activities, home remedies aren’t going to be enough, and you need professional help from a doctor.
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