Nursing Notes: Don’t Let Back Pain Put Life On Hold
Several months ago, I was shoveling snow and felt a twinge in my lower back. I immediately started to experience pain from my neck down to my foot on the left side of my body. The pain was so severe I could not stand straight and I immediately took to the Internet to conduct some research, “self-diagnose” and hopefully find a treatment that could end my misery. Did you know: 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their life. That’s eight out of 10 people! Back pain is the most common cause of job-related disabilities and a leading contributor to missed days of work. Whether back pain comes as a surprise or occurs on a regular basis, the first step in managing the problem is to determine what is causing the problem. There are many different things that can cause back pain — from a strained back muscle, bulging disc, arthritis, scoliosis, osteoporosis, among many other potential causes. For this reason, seeing your primary care physician for a diagnosis and treatment plan is important. The good news is that back pain does not automatically equal surgery. So, the correct diagnosis is incredibly important. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to hopefully find some relief:
Rest – difficult for many to just sit around but certainly can be an effective contributor to the healing process.
Exercise and stretch – proper exercise will strengthen the muscles around the area in pain and potential provide some relief.
Medication – both over-the-counter and prescription medications have come a long way. Medications with ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen can help resolve aches and pains and help with inflammation.
Therapy – A physical therapist is a specialist skilled and educated specifically in evaluation and conservative management, including rehabilitation, of orthopedic, neurologic, and cardiovascular conditions. If you need therapy for an injury, then The Village at Marymount’s Rehabilitation Services team is here to help. We have clinicians specializing in orthopedics, geriatric care, cardiopulmonary, TMJ, neck and lower back pain, neurological care, and headaches. Remember, be proactive. Always take care of yourself, and when in doubt or need, ask questions.