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How Do I Relieve Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain can be short-term or chronic, worsening over time.
An illustration of a healthy spine and one with spinal osteoarthritis, a common cause of back pain.
Bed rest may be recommended for some people with chronic back pain, although others will be encouraged to continue low impact exercise.
Heat and cold are two common methods of trying to relieve back pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Chronic back pain is one of the most painful ailments that exist, and to make matters worse, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact source. Often, the pain will progressively worsen over time. Short-term back pain can go away after a matter of days or weeks, and once the back pain has been around for three months or more it is usually diagnosed as chronic. The very first thing you must do when you are going through any back ailment is to seek an opinion or a referral from your family physician.

It is the progressive nature of chronic back pain that causes a great number of people to miss work or to be incapacitated every day. The causes of the pain can be due to unnecessary strain, muscle irritation, skeletal irregularities, bone lesions, degeneration from several ailments or simply age, and more. Usually the procedures that are done to heal this pain are non-invasive and do not require surgery. There are a wide range of treatments available from a variety of licensed physicians, and a number of steps that you can take at home for temporary and long-term relief of this often debilitating disorder.

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Two of the simplest forms of relief for back pain are heat and cold, and although they may not provide a total cure for the pain, they certainly have been known to help to relieve it temporarily. You only need to apply a hot or cold compress over the affected region of the back, which will usually reduce inflammation and temporarily restore mobility to the chronic back pain sufferer. Another activity that can be done in conjunction with ice or heat is simply bed rest, or the lack of activity. Bed rest, however, sometimes may actually worsen the problem, and it can be more important to keep the back in motion to alleviate the pain. You should limit bed rest to one or two days, at the most.

A very effective way to help relieve chronic back pain is through a series of daily stretches and exercises that are designed to strengthen the bones and muscles associated with back support. There are exercise, swimming, yoga and other routines that have been specifically designed to help to alleviate back pain, and there are many that target people with spinal or skeletal irregularities. It is important to note that although there is sometimes mild pain associated with these activities, persistent or worsening pain should be enough cause to seek additional help from a physician.

There are many more treatments that can be recommended by a doctor when chronic back pain persists. There are many types of medications and a variety of ways to administer them that can provide temporary and long term relief. Non-invasive surgery procedures can include spinal manipulation, acupuncture, or ultrasound. For more serious cases, and highly dependent on the cause, there also exist many types of surgery for the relief of back pain, when all else fails.

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