Orthopaedic Advice for Back Pain

Seventy to eighty-five per cent of the population has back pain in their lives at some point according to numerous figures. Back pain can cause people to miss work or major sporting events. Some may even go on disability for extended periods of time. Common causes of back pain include repetitive stress from a job, poor posture, improper lifting, falls and car accidents.

Back pain can occur in the upper, middle and lower areas of the spine. Some back pain is caused my muscle strains. Individuals may also have a type of condition known as fibromyalgia, which is an autoimmune disease causing chronic muscle aches. Others may have more degenerative conditions, including osteoarthritis, scoliosis and rheumatoid arthritis. A herniated disk is another degenerative disk condition that causes back pain. Disks are cartilage between the vertebrae in the spine, which serve as cushions. However, sometimes the disk or annulus can crack or tear, causing a displacement of the jelly-like fluid inside the disk. This displacement can cause the disk to protrude, exerting pressure on sensitive nerves.

Lower back pain is the most common type of back pain. Orthopaedic doctors usually recommend ibuprofen or other pain medications for lower back pain–or any type of pain in the back. Ibuprofen also minimizes the inflammation around the injured area. Back sufferers should take ibuprofen every three or four hours throughout the day. It is also advisable to rest the back to prevent further injury. Some orthopaedic doctors recommend using cushions when sitting or sleeping. Wedge-shaped cushions can be placed on chairs, taking pressure off vertebrae, muscles and disks in the lower back. People can also insert cushions between their legs when the sleep. Orthopaedic doctors usually recommend these units when individuals have pain or muscle strains on one side of their lower backs. There are also contoured and other cushions for relieving back strain during sleep or relaxation.

It can take some time for back pain to heal. Some orthopaedic doctors recommend using ice in conjunction with pain pills. However, ice should only be used during the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, according to Medlineplus.com. Ice keeps the swelling down. It also temporarily prevents blood and lymphatic fluid from entering the injured area, which contribute to inflammation. Ice is most effective if it is applied for 20 minutes every three or four hours throughout the day. Subsequently, heat can be used to help heal the back, as heat treatments promote the flow of blood. The oxygen and nutrients in the blood are necessary for healing once the swelling has subsided.

Once back pain has subsided, an orthopaedic doctor may prescribe back exercises to strengthen muscles around the spine and disks. One exercise involves lying on a hard surface with the knees pointing upward. The individual then presses her back to the floor 10 times, holding that position for five seconds. Another movement is pulling one or both legs toward the chest and holding that position for five seconds. People suffering from back pain should first see their primary doctor. They can then recommend an orthopaedic doctor that meets a person’s needs.

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