Back pain has a variety of causes. The pain could be in your muscles, bones, joints, or nerves. The first step to finding relief is to be evaluated by a doctor who can uncover the cause so the right kind of treatment can be started. If your back pain came on suddenly when you were engaged in physical activity, you may have pulled a muscle. Muscle strains in the back can be very painful and make it difficult to move or take a deep breath. If your back pain is caused by a muscle injury, you may want to try these treatments to get relief.
Apply Ice Packs To Your Back
You may get some pain relief if you apply ice packs as soon as you can after the injury. Ice helps decrease swelling, which reduces pain. It's best to wrap the ice in a towel or cloth so it doesn't burn your skin and so you can leave it in place for several minutes at a time. Ice packs are useful in the early stages of the injury, but after a day or two, or when your doctor advises you to, you should switch to a heating pad or hot water bottle instead. That's because heat enhances blood circulation and increased blood flow speeds the healing process. Fortunately, the large muscles in your back have a plentiful blood supply, so you should heal from your muscle strain within several days.
Consider Muscle Relaxants
If you have painful spasms when you move, you should visit a doctor for an evaluation. Muscle spasms can be very painful at times, and they may interfere with your healing. A treatment your doctor may consider is muscle relaxant medication. This relieves your pain by stopping or reducing the amount and severity of the spasms. You shouldn't need to take the medication for very long since the spasms should stop once healing of the muscle is underway. In addition to muscle relaxants, your doctor may recommend certain over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce your pain.
Learn Back Exercises
One problem with a muscle injury in your back is that it is easy to become sedentary if it is painful every time you move. Your doctor probably won't want you to rest for more than a few days. If you don't work your muscles, even if it hurts, it takes longer to heal. What's worse, your muscles get weaker from inactivity and that can lead to increased risk of injury. For that reason, your doctor may send you to a physical therapist to learn stretching exercises and strength-building exercises to keep your back muscles flexible and strong.
The intense pain from a muscle strain should go away in a day or two, but it will take a few weeks for your back to heal completely. Even though a muscle injury is very painful, it heals quicker than other types of back problems. So, if your pain continues for several weeks after your injury, be sure to let your doctor know because you may have injured a nerve, disc, or joint in your back too. Contact a clinic like Allegheny Brain And Spine Surgeons to learn more.