How You Can Best Manage Your Back Injury
Are you experiencing back pain? You are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical care. Millions of Americans miss work due to back pain, and it is the number one cause of disability worldwide.
Back pain is often associated with back injuries causing tremendous pain and discomfort.
Back injuries can affect any part of the back, but most often happen to the lower back. Common injuries include sprains and strains, herniated discs, and fractures. Treatment is dependent upon the severity and location of the injury.
What are the Causes of a Back Injury
There are many causes of back injuries. Some individuals are more at risk than others.
Age can be a factor, with more injuries occurring with age. Physical fitness and being overweight both put you at risk. Some individuals cause injuries to their back because they do not use the correct technique when working out. Being overweight puts strain on your back, making you more at risk for injury.
Most back injuries are due to muscle strains. Sudden movements, falls, incorrect posture, or poor lifting techniques when moving heavy objects are common causes of injuries.
Whatever the cause, it is essential to identify so you can be treated appropriately.
What are Signs of a Back Injury
If you have a back injury, you likely know it when it happens. Nevertheless, knowing what signs and symptoms indicate a back injury is essential. The following are common symptoms after a back injury:
Pain that worsens with movement. Even with slight movement, such as when you cough.
Pain and tenderness, especially being sore to the touch.
Difficulty standing up straight
Stiffness with movement
Pain that radiates down one or both legs
How are Back Injuries Treated
It is important to see a spine doctor if your back pain does not improve after a few days or has not resolved entirely after a few weeks. Doctors use a variety of techniques to help patients experiencing back pain.
Believe it or not, the most important thing you can do is remain active. Bed rest slows the recovery process and can cause more pain.
Your doctor will suggest anti-inflammatories for pain management. It is also advised to rotate both cold and heat to the area of the injured back.
Use cold compresses for up 20 minutes every 3-4 hours
Use heat if it is a recent injury. It can help with pain and recovery.
It is crucial to avoid any heavy lifting or bending. If your work requires heavy lifting, then you may want to consider taking time off work to allow the back to heal.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to build strength in your back and teach proper body mechanics that decrease the risk of injury.
Healing at home and the use of proper body mechanics usually allow for healing within a few weeks. Surgery is rarely necessary.
How Can I Prevent Future Back Injuries
There are several steps you can take to prevent future injuries. One is to exercise by doing low-impact exercises that don't strain the back. Walking and swimming are often recommended.
Building strength in the back is important for not just strength but also flexibility. Some exercises focus on strengthening your core which minimizes the likelihood of a future injury as it helps to stabilize the back.
Also, did you know smoking can contribute to the risk of a back injury? It is true, so quitting will help reduce your risk of future injury.
In physical therapy, you will learn to avoid movements where you might twist or strain your back. Proper body mechanics is crucial to prevent future injuries.
If you have to sit for long periods of time, make sure your chair offers lower back support, armrests, and a swivel base. Some people put a pillow or rolled towel at the base of the lower back. Also, try to keep your knees and hips in alignment and change your position frequently throughout the day.
Finally, learn how to lift smart. Remember to let your legs do the work, not your back. Try to avoid any heavy lifting. When you lift, keep your back straight and do not twist; bend only at the knees. Also, ask for help if the object is too heavy. It is a much better option than risking lifting on your own and getting injured.
Looking for an Orthopedic Clinic Near Me? Let us Help you Find Relief From Your Pain
Considering connecting with an orthopedic clinic specializing in injuries and conditions of the spine? Then connect with our team at Pinnacle Orthopaedics. With several locations, you can find the best spine doctor near you:
At Pinnacle, you'll find a team of doctors who use the latest in technology and interventions so we can provide the best in care for our patients. All of our surgeons are fellowship-trained and focus on a range of injuries and conditions.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you best today!
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.