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Back Pain Treatments

A reported 80% of Canadians will experience back pain at one point or another in their lives. Whether you became part of this majority when you strained your back trying to lift a heavy object, injured yourself in a slip and fall or suffer from chronic back pain, the fact of the matter is that an aching back can put a damper on anyone’s day and prevent you from leading a normal life.

If you are suffering from back pain, no matter what the cause is, you should always consult with a doctor to determine the best course of treatment. Having said that however, some treatments available to reduce back pain are: 

Immediately after injury, or when you feel pain, try the following treatment:

  • Limited rest: Taking a break from activity for a few days can allow the injured tissue to relax and heal, however, rest should be limited to no more than a few days, as extended rest can weaken your supporting muscles and cause more back pain in the long term.  
  • Hot and cold compresses: Ice can help ease the pain caused by an injury as it helps bring inflammation down. Heat can help relax muscles, therefore it is recommended on chronic back pain. On recently occurred injuries, medical professionals recommend alternating between heat and ice every fifteen minutes.
  • Massages: back pain is often associated with stress and a shiatsu massage can help relax the tense muscles in your back that are causing you chronic pain.
  • Physical Therapy: physical therapy can help decrease back pain and increase function as an immediate effect, but it can also teach you how to prevent future back problems as well as aid you in developing muscles around your spine.

For long term care:

  • Proper seating: chronic back pain is often associated with the way in which sit for prolonged periods of time in front of our computer desks. Having a wok station that is ergonomically supportive, adding a backrest, a supporting roll or a specialty pillow can help ease the pain in the long run by providing adequate postural support and alignment.
  • Strengthening core muscles: sitting on a balance ball or a posture balance cushion at work, instead of a regular chair, are great ways to strengthen your core muscles and reinforcing proper posture. Flex bands are also a great tool to strengthen and stretch your muscles.
  • Exercise: an exercise routine designed and guided by a spine health professional, such as a physical therapist or a chiropractor, that includes aerobic conditioning, stretching and strengthening, can help strengthen your core muscles and alleviate pain long term.
  • Chiropractic treatment: an adjustment by a chiropractor can reduce pain and inflammation thus improving spinal function and range of motion.

More aggressive treatments available are:

  • Injections: Once a round of medication and physical therapy is completed without improvement, a doctor may recommend a lumbar epidural injection, which delivers steroid medication directly to the affected area.
  • Surgery: If your back pain is caused due to an identifiable anatomic condition, surgery may be recommended as the best course of treatment.