Many of us, at some time in our lives, are going to awake having a case of acute lower back pain. You wake up, your back hurts. You twist or turn and you experience an episode of lower back pain. Depending on just how severe that lower back pain is will likely depend upon how urgently we look for medical care. If the pain is really bad – even if that pain will still go away within a couple of days, a couple weeks, or certainly by five weeks for the most part – it still is a good idea at that point to visit a doctor to get checked over. Also, doctors have a number of tools in their toolkit to remove pain much faster than it may have otherwise gone away, beginning with oral medications, topical medications, and so forth.
Treat lower backpain with heat or ice?
Whenever acute lower back pain is not acute – if it’s more of a mild or moderate ache or it’s bad for a few hours and then it goes away – usually it could be taken care of at home with ice. Here at Scotchtown Chiropractic and Physical Therapy we generally suggest that for the initial 48 hours it’s a good idea to use ice. After that, heat or ice. Chiropractic doctors who treat back pain and other joint pain get asked all the time, “Must I be using ice, or should I be working with heat?” A general guideline is for the primary 48 hours to use ice as most likely a little better. In reality – in terms of long-term outcome – it really does not make that much of a difference whether you use ice or hot, but for the very first 48 hours, it makes sense to use an anti-inflammatory, like ice. After the first 48 hours, patients generally tend to say that heat makes them feel much better whenever they put it on. Ice tends to work as an anti-spasm on it. I normally tell people to use whatever helps make them feel better.
When people have acute lower back pain that is not severe enough that they seek medical help, I still recommend they do so – even if they just have a few days of acute lower back pain and they’re not sure why, but it just came on – I think it’s a good idea at that point. This is one of those moments when I believe it’s important to remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is a good time to visit your physician as well as a chiropractor to get examined. Ideally you should get setup with a good set of physical therapy exercises (Scotchtown Chiropractic and Physical Therapy provides most patients with an “at-home” exercise routine) that you can grasp in a short amount of time and combine into an overall exercise regimen. Doing so will just make it a lot less likely that you have another incident of acute lower back pain in the near future. It just helps to protect the back and ideally helps to prevent a lot of problems down the road with the back.
Topic: Lower back pain