Most mild back pain and stiffness is the result of an injured ligament or joint in the spine that causes surrounding muscles to contract into painful spasms. Low back pain is usually caused by muscle strain from abrupt twisting or improper lifting of heavy objects. Though the pain may be severe, most back injuries heal without special treatment or complications.
To Help Relieve Your Symptoms:
- Within the first 48 hours after your back symptoms start, apply a cold pack to the painful area for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. If your symptoms last longer than 48 hours, try a heating pad, hot shower or bath to relieve your symptoms.
- Sleep on a firm mattress. Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees, or sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Use a chair with a good lower back support.
- If you must sit for long periods of time, try resting your feet on the floor or on a low stool.
- If you must stand for long periods of time, try resting one foot on a low stool.
An Ounce of Prevention
- Exercise. It's the single best thing you can to do ensure a healthy body.
- Avoid excessive weight gain. Excess weight puts too much strain on the muscles in your back and legs, making them more vulnerable to injury.
- Get up and stretch. Take breaks if you have to stand or sit for long periods.
- Be careful lifting. Always lift with your legs, not your back. Never raise a heavy object above your waist, or lift and twist at the same time.
Call Your Doctor If:
- You have mild pain that persists after 3 or 4 days of self-treatment.
- Your pain is severe or recurrent.
- You have new symptoms.