7 Things I Know About Back Pain

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I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV, this is not medical advice.

Residential furniture moving is a nasty sort of business, especially on the back. Extreme weight and uneven loads (think sofa bed coming down a flight of stairs) are just two issues besides the force multiplier: iteration. The discomfort is immediate but the treatment eventual, given the nebulous nature of back pain. Consider: Your doctor must discern an ailment to guide you towards treatment, but the description “My back hurts” doesn’t narrow down the list of possibilities. Why do you think doctors send patients away with prescriptions? It’s a systemic answer for a vague description: all bases are covered. The key to understanding and treating your back pain lies with a multi faceted approach to the subject. There are many steps you can take on your own, supplemented with the help of the medical profession, here are a few:

(1) Stretching : I cannot put too fine a point on this, stretching is possibly the single best thing you can do to relieve muscle tension, full stop. Have a look at this site, it will give you a terrific start.  http://www.drillsandskills.com/stretching/General

(2) Pain killers v. Anti-inflammatories : Two different types of product: Tylenol is an over the counter pain-killer and Advil is the anti-inflammatory. The important thing to understand is the difference between the two. Again, this is a good starting point: http://www.differencebetween.net/science/health/the-difference-between-tylenol-and-advil/.  Ask your doctor which one is best for you.

(3) On site injections : If you have chronic back pain and you can find the specific area, an injection may help you. Depo-Medrol is a corticosteroid commonly used to reduce inflammation.

(4) Water intake : Furniture moving is a strenuous physical activity that lends itself to dehydration and in turn muscle cramping. Some believe there is a correlation between muscle cramping and back pain; http://nutrition.about.com/od/hydrationwater/a/back_pain_water.htm.

(5) MRI : One of the most difficult issues to qualify with a back problem is the exact location of the pain. It is not an exaggeration to say this takes years to discern given the wait list for proper diagnostics. Currently the gold standard for diagnostics is a MRI.

(6)Sleep : Back pain is not always obvious in day-to-day activities, though a feeling of malaise may be persistant. One of the interesting ways you can infer a back problem is through sleep patterns. For example, if you wake up more than once a night you may have pain issues. Pay close attention to your sleep patterns for valuable clues about your overall well-being.

(7) Alternative therapies : There is a multitude of alternative therapies for back pain including massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractor and physiotherapists.

The most difficult issue about back pain from my experience is being able to understand what causes the pain, as the more you dig into the problem, the more complex it becomes. Find yourself a good doctor and stick with him/her, as you will need a good working relationship to get the attention to detail this issue requires.