How to manage back pain

Those who have never experienced back pain often underestimate the debilitating effect it can have on the sufferer. An aching back can make it difficult to work, exercise or even carry out basic tasks around the home. If you are currently experiencing back pain, here are a few tips which should make it easier for you to cope with this issue.

Visit your local medical centre

Many people who suffer from persistent back problems simply grit their teeth, take some OTC analgesics and hope that the pain eventually goes away. This is a potentially dangerous approach to managing back pain, which could end up causing a whole host of problems later down the line. For example, if your back problems are actually a symptom of early-stage rheumatoid arthritis,  and you are unaware that you have this disease, ignoring your back ache could result in the the arthritis going untreated, which could, in turn, put you at higher risk of infection, chronic fatigue, fever and joint pain in other areas of your body.

As such, if you develop back pain, you should make a trip to your local medical centre as soon as possible. A doctor will not only be able to help you identify the source of the problem and, if appropriate, refer you for further diagnostic tests or treatments, but they may also be able to write you a prescription for medication which will help to alleviate your symptoms and thus make it  easier for you to go about your daily life.

Hot or cold therapies

Heat and ice packs can be enormously helpful if you're suffering from chronic back pain. The former works by encouraging the dilation of a person's blood vessels; this dilation not only helps to ease muscle spasms but also allows for the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the affected area, which, in turn, can help to heal the injured tissue. For heat therapy, you can use special heat pads from your local pharmacy, or alternatively, a hot water bottle.

Cold therapy has also been found to be an effective treatment for back pain. It can slow down nerve impulses and thus reduce the frequency and severity of painful muscle spasms. Ice packs also help to reduce one of the most common causes of back pain — inflammation. Whilst many people choose to use ice packs for this type of therapy, a frozen pack of vegetables often works just as well.