A shocking 80% of people will have some form of neck or back pain in their lifetimes. Most people will experience acute pain in these areas of the body. Acute pain is a sudden yet intense pain that goes away after a few days. However, some people have continued pain that persists despite surgery or nonsurgical treatments. Long-term pain is referred to as chronic pain. Even if you don’t have chiropractic equipment, there are several things you can do at home to ease the pain as quickly as possible.
To get rid of intense pain in your back or neck, you’ll have to restrict your activity temporarily and take pain medicine. Most of the pain that occurs in these parts of the body is because of muscle strain. Most of the time, acute back pain will subside in a few days.
These helpful tips will benefit several people with acute neck or back pain. If these pain management suggestions cause more pain or the pain spreads to the legs or arms, discontinue the method and consult your physical therapist or doctor for additional treatment options.
If you suspect you’ve hurt your back, take it easy by not putting too much pressure on your back. In most cases, you’ll have to restrict your movement since too much activity will worsen the pain. Even if you’re able to function and feel pain each time you bend over or turn too far to one side, you shouldn’t put more strain on the muscles since this can intensify your injury. If you’re having acute back pain, don’t move too much and take painkillers for a few days. If you’re currently taking prescription medication, talk to your doctor about which over-the-counter painkillers are right for you.
OTC Medicines: What You Need to Know
Inflammation is the body’s way of responding to injury or irritation. Signs of irritation include warmth, redness, pain, and swelling. To accelerate the healing process and alleviate pain, you can use over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, ketoprofen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. These medicines are NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and can reduce swelling and pain. NSAIDs are for acute pain; prolonged use of these medications can cause gastrointestinal issues. Talk to your doctor if you need to use NSAIDs for more than a week.
Sometimes, acetaminophen is the ideal solution for neck and back pain. Acetaminophen is not anti-inflammatory but can eliminate pain with gastrointestinal side effects. However, be sure to take this medication as directed to avoid other side effects such as vomiting and headache.
Apply Ice Before Heat
Ice your back or neck for 48 hours and then add heat. Alternating between ice and heat can relieve pain that comes from ligament and muscle strain. Ice delays swelling and have an anesthetic effect on the body. However, ice isn’t as effective after about 48 hours so you should apply heat to your muscles to increase blood flow and reduce spasms.
Get a Massage and Get Moving
A gentle massage can relieve muscle pain. You can use a massage tool to soothe tightness in the neck and back. Or, ask a loved one or friend to give you a massage. You can further alleviate pain by using essential oils with your message. Lavender and chamomile oil calm the nervous system and can reduce inflammation.
While staying still for a few days after your injury is best, you should start moving again once you’ve rested for 3-4 days. Limit your muscle movement and become more active as the pain becomes more manageable. You can perform simple exercises but it’s best to ask your physical therapists which workouts are safe for you during this time.
Make Adjustments to Your Daily Schedule
When your neck or back is hurting, you have to make adjustments to help you complete daily tasks without too much pain. It’s important to maintain normal spine curvature. Practice good posture and make sure the hollow of your back is properly supported to speed up recovery time. Stretch lightly in the mornings and in the evening to keep your joints from stiffening. You may also want to take walks in the evenings to improve circulation and use chiropractic pillows to properly support your neck and back during sleep.