Brief summary of Back Pain

An attack of back pain can be alarming. Even a minor back strain can be very painful and it’s natural to think that something dreadful might have happened. However your spine is one of the strongest parts of your body. It is made of solid bony blocks joined by discs to give it strength and flexibility. It is reinforced by strong ligaments, and surrounded by large and powerful muscles that protect it. Most back pain comes from the working parts of your back – the muscles, ligaments, and small joints. If your back is simply not moving and working as it should. You can think of it as being ‘out of condition’. So what you should do is get your back moving and working properly again.

Features of back pain

  • Most back pain is not due to any serious disease.
  • The acute pain usually improves within days or a few weeks without a need for any specific measure.
  • Attack of back pain can happen again after the first attack subsided. Between attacks majority of people have their daily activities without any pain.
  • What you do in the early stages is very important.
  • Rest should be limited to couple of days, since; it can prolong the pain and disability.
  • By moving your back you are not making your back pain worse.
  • You should get on with life and stay active. It increases your ability to cope with back pain.

Keep active

You should keep active to stay healthy.
When your back is painful, you can start your activities without too much stress..

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Exercise bike
  • Dancing/yoga/keep fit
  • In fact, most daily activities and hobbies will help

Having a good posture is very important in preventing any back strain.
Always stand erect, tucking in bottom and abdomen.
Always bend your hips and knees when lifting any object. Hold the object close to your body and Lift by straightening your legs.

How to deal with an episode of back pain

First you should try to ease the pain.
Always stand erect, tucking in bottom and abdomen.
Pain Relief – Simple pain killers such as Paracetamol is very useful provided you take it on a regular basis. You cannot harm yourself by having pain killers and staying active. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen also are helpful. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any Anti-inflammatory.
Applying Heat or Cold – It is a good measure in reducing pain by decreasing the muscle tension. Be careful to prevent any harm to your skin from direct contact of very cold or hot object. You can use a wrapped Ice pack or hot water bottle, a bath or shower.
Massage – It can improve your discomfort by simply rubbing the painful area.
Manipulation – It can be useful but should not be used for a very long time and should be provided by qualified person. You should begin to feel the benefit within a few sessions.

More information can be found in our Pain Intervention Education and Pain Conditions Education sections.