One of the most common ailments that plague modern man is back pain. It is estimated that 95 million Americans will suffer some type of back pain over the next year’s time. Other than for pregnancy it is the number one reason people seek hospital treatment. Other than for the common cold, it’s the number one reason people lose time from work. Although prompt and efficient first aid for back pain can help in an acute episode, prevention of the pain is more easily accomplished and a much more efficient way to treat problems in the back.
Most back pain in adults can be prevented by following some simple rules and guidelines; some include lifting, the others include strengthening of the abdominal musculature. Most back pain can be prevented before it occurs by following these guidelines.
If, in fact, an injury to the lower back occurs or severe back pain develops, prompt first aid is often effective in preventing serious complications later on the down the road. Here are some first aid guidelines:
1. Ice application – Ice application to the lower back immediately after a
lifting or sport’s injury is one of the most important and most effective
things you can do to reduce pain, inflammation and reduce muscle spasm.
Ice in the form of ice cubes in a plastic or an ice pack should be applied to
the lower back with toweling in between the ice and the skin so as to not to freeze the skin. Ice should be applied for no more than 20 minutes time, then left off until the body returns to normal temperature. Ice can then be applied once again.
It is always safe to use ice first even though in some situations heat may be preferable. Ice will generally not harm an area where heat when applied incorrectly can.
2. Rest – In acute back injury, it is very important in the early stages not to overuse your back. Although complete bed rest is often not necessary, resting while performing ice application and being careful not to lift or over exert the back for 24 to 48 hrs. will help to prevent serious injury and complications down the road.
By following these first aid guidelines you can prevent serious complications down the road and reduce pain significantly. However, anytime you have acute back injury where severe pain lasts for more than 24 hours, or if you have a back injury that’s associated with leg pain or numbness, you should see a chiropractic physician or other back speccialist health care professional immediately.
Remember: most back pain can be prevented before it occurs, but if it does, prompt first aid is the key to reduce pain and hasten recovery.