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Effectively treating lower back pain requires identifying the origin of the discomfort, correcting the underlying cause, and finding ways to minimize the symptoms. Because the pain may be due to a back injury or some time of muscle strain, it is important to determine exactly what is causing the pain and treat it accordingly. Most incidences of minor pain in the lower back can be treated at home, while acute back pain often requires the help of a trained physician.
When the back pain is due to temporary stress placed on the muscles of the back, it is often possible to alleviate the discomfort with the use of ice. For a quick cold compress for the back, fill a sealable plastic bag with crushed ice and wrap it in a kitchen towel. Apply the ice directly to the lower back shortly after the pain manifests. The ice will help to ease the inflammation of the strained muscles and also limit the amount of swelling that takes place. This in turn helps to minimize the pressure on the lumbar spine and brings about relief.
While ice is a great option just after the pain commences, using heat in the days following will often help to keep the muscles limber and promote the natural healing process. Heating pads can be used in sessions of twenty to thirty minutes throughout the day. A hot shower will also help to relax the tense muscles and allow the body to repair itself. Deep heating ointments and creams can also be employed to prevent the lower back from becoming stiff.
While it is possible to treat minor lower back pain at home, people who suffer with chronic back pain often require the assistance of a doctor. The pain may be due to a herniated disc, a situation that requires close monitoring. Often, prescription muscle relaxers and pain killers are needed in order for the individual to enjoy a measure of relief as the physician assesses the situation and determines the scope of treatments that will be used to correct the lower back pain.
In some situations, such as a bulging disc, back surgery may be the only viable option for the lower back pain. Thanks to the wider range of surgical options available today, the risks involved with this type of procedure are low compared to even two decades ago. However, as with any invasive procedure, back surgery does still carry some risks. A qualified surgeon can help a patient understand the nature of the risks, as well as set reasonable expectations for pain during the recovery period and the rate of mobility the individual will enjoy once the lower back is completely healed.