It is often difficult to determine the exact causes of back pain. Therefore, if you have back pain, it will be difficult for your doctor to set up a correct diagnosis and immediately determine the exact treatment. Most doctors know that an average patient will be healed in a few days if he/she follows these simple self-help measures described below. However, if the pain is very strong, persistent or frequent, the doctor will refer you to the X-ray and other diagnostic tests to find out the root cause and apply more specific types of treatment.
Regardless of the cause of back pain, there are measures you can take to ease the pain and accelerate the treatment. Take simple pain medications, such as aspirin or paracetamol, panadone, plivalgin, every four hours (as per packaging instructions). Warm up a painful spot to relieve pain – for example, a thermophore wrap into a towel. Lay as long as you can as your back (or take the most comfortable position) in your bed with a hard (“orthopedic”) mattress or in a flat bed with a rigid pillow under the mattress. Inaction calms the intervertebral disks and ligaments, and increase the prospects for healing. So, stay in bed for as long as you can. If back pain persists for more than three to four days, contact your doctor.
Much depends on personal history and the physician’s assessment of the situation. Your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers or muscle relaxants. If a susceptible spot in the back muscles can be accurately determined, one or more corticosteroid injections will be helpful. Some physicians will also recommend the physical therapy of some form of massage, osteopathic manipulation, support belt or corset, or special spinal exercise gymnastics.
However, the most applied (and generally the most successful) – especially if there is suspicion of disc prolapse – rest on a hard bed for two weeks. This means that you will have to do everything in bed, including eating, washing etc. Treatment will not be successful if you get bored and if you decide to so sit down, for example, at your family’s table for lunch or dinner. You need to be still for 2 weeks.
These measures sometimes do not ease back pain. In that case, the doctor will refer you to a orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon for further examination and treatment. It is advisable to stay for a few weeks at the hospital. There, the resting in bed will be complete, and legs and neck will undergo extension (stretching). Surgical removal of a part of the prolapsed disc is usually recommended only after all other types of treatment have been tried and proved to be unsuccessful. The operation is complex, and success is not guaranteed.
While gradually recovering from back pain and cautiously re-engaging in everyday work, your doctor may refer you to specific physiotherapeutic exercises to strengthen your back muscles and joints. Usually, the symptoms usually recur in the first few months, but remember that your back will be endangered forever.