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Back pain, especially lower back pain, is something nearly everyone will experience at some point in their lives. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatments available for back pain relief. Which method you choose will depend on the severity of your pain and the nature of your injury. Mild pain can often be treated at home; more severe pain may require medical attention. If your pain is sharp or severe, radiates down one or both legs, or does not respond to home treatment, you should seek medical care because you might have a serious injury.
Resting is the most obvious and natural choice for back pain relief. You may need to spend a day or two lying down; a heating pad or ice pack may help, depending on what feels best to your body. Relaxing your muscles in a warm bath or sauna may provide some pain relief. Gentle massage is another excellent choice for back pain relief. You can apply pain-relieving creams or warming massage oils to help relax and ease any tension in your back muscles.
Oral medications also help provide relief while your back is healing. The most common over-the-counter remedies include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, such as Tylenol®. Aspirin and ibuprofen are anti-inflammatory drugs and may help reduce swelling in your back muscles. Acetaminophen is a better choice for pain relief if you are allergic or sensitive to aspirin products. For severe or chronic pain, there are a number of prescription drugs available; talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of prescription pain relievers.
Exercise may also help alleviate some of the pain associated with sore muscles of the back. Yoga, or any other gentle stretching exercise, can provide back pain relief from sitting still for too long. Swimming and walking are also gentle exercises that can help loosen up tense muscles and warm up stiff joints in the back. If your pain is severe or gets worse with activity, never perform any exercise without first seeing a physician or other health care provider; in some cases, exercise can make your injury worse. If you have a severe injury, your exercise program will probably be supervised by a physical therapist at first.
Of course, preventing back pain before it starts is the best option. Two of the most common factors that contribute to back pain are excess body weight and poor posture. Stress can also contribute to tight muscles, especially in the upper back and neck. Learning proper lifting techniques can prevent many back injuries, especially work-related injuries. As a rule, keeping your body as healthy and active as possible is the best way to prevent back pain.