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How to Treat a Lower Back Injury: A Helpful Guide

    Lower back pain is the number one cause of disability in the world. In the United States, it affects more than 31 million individuals.

    Some of the most common causes include muscle strain, ligament sprain, herniated disc, and osteoarthritis. Not only that but it can be caused by trauma (e.g. car accident) as well.

    Did you recently suffer a lower back injury? Wondering what your treatment options are? If so, you’re at the right place.

    We’ll be going over a few things that you can do below. Keep reading to learn more!

    1. Apply Ice and Heat

    Apply ice during the first 24 to 48 hours; that’ll help reduce inflammation. For example, you can use an ice pack or place ice cubes in a plastic bag. Consider wrapping it with a cloth so that it won’t touch your skin directly.

    Apply the ice for up to 10 minutes at a time and repeat as needed throughout the day.

    From there, you can apply heat. Not only will it relieve pain, but it’ll also boost circulation. This will allow nutrients and oxygen to travel to the affected area, which will speed up the recovery process.

    For the best results, keep it on for 15 to 20 minutes. We recommend using a hot pack wrapped in a towel—that’ll help prevent burns.

    2. Use an Over-the-Counter Medication

    There are many over-the-counter medications that you can take for back injuries. For example, you can take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

    Not only are they effective at relieving pain, but they can also help reduce swelling and tenderness. Just remember to take them with food as they can be hard on your stomach.

    Or if you want, you can use a medicated cream, ointment, or patch. Many of these products contain ingredients such as camphor, lidocaine, or menthol, which will cool, heat, or numb the affected area. They’re also well tolerated (ie. they rarely cause side effects).

    3. Do Exercises 

    Certain exercises can help relieve lower back pain. For example, you can do the knee-to-chest stretch, cat-cow stretch, or piriformis muscle stretch. They’ll strengthen and improve flexibility in the spine and back so that you’ll be able to heal faster.

    Just make sure to be gentle, especially if you have a disc rupture in your back—the last thing that you want is to cause further injury. Remember, these exercises shouldn’t cause any pain.

    If necessary, consult with your health care professional first before doing any exercises. Depending on the injury, some exercises may not be recommended and can make the situation worse.

    Treating a Lower Back Injury 

    As you can see, there are several things that you can do to treat a lower back injury—from over-the-counter medications to gentle stretches. If the pain persists, however, you may want to see a doctor.

    Looking for more content like this? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our health section!