sore back usually settles down or improves within four weeks, unless
there's a serious medical condition causing the pain. See your doctor if
you don't experience any improvement after 72 hours of home treatment.
These steps can help you treat back pain at home:
Prolonged bed rest isn't a good idea for back pain. Light activity
speeds healing and recovery. If your back hurts, stop the
aggravating activities, but try to keep up activities that aren't
Sources of heat and cold, such as a hot bath and hot or cold
compresses, can soothe sore and inflamed muscles. Use cold treatment
first. Immediately after injuring your back, apply ice several times
a day, for up to 20 minutes at a time. Put the ice in a bag, then
wrap the bag in a cloth or towel to keep a thin barrier between the
ice and your skin. Use ice for as long as spasms persist. After
spasms and acute pain subside, you can apply heat from a heating pad
or heat lamp to help loosen tight muscles. Limit each heat
application to 20 minutes.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol,
others) may help control pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) also can
reduce inflammation, swelling and stiffness.
limited use of a support brace or corset.
Braces and corsets are available over the counter at pharmacies and
medical supply stores. Your doctor also may prescribe a brace
customized for your back. However, research studies are divided as
to whether back braces and corsets can relieve strain. They can
provide warmth, comfort and a degree of support to your back. But
some devices may be uncomfortable. Another drawback is that your
back muscles may weaken with prolonged use of a brace or corset.
It's best to use a brace or corset only for short periods or during
back-straining activities. The best brace or corset you can give
yourself is your own "muscle corset." You can build up your muscle
corset through back strengthening and stability exercises.
Complementary and alternative medicine
Besides treatment provided by a doctor and self-care steps taken at
home, some people have turned to complementary and alternative therapies
for relief of back pain.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a
chiropractor. If you're considering chiropractic care, talk to your
doctor about the most appropriate specialist for your type of
problem. In addition to chiropractors, many osteopathic doctors and
some physical therapists have training in spinal manipulation.
Some people with low pack pain report that acupuncture helps relieve
their symptoms. It may provide some help for people with chronic low
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