Back pain usually subsides over the course of weeks or months but if neglected, it can cause long-term damage. It’s not always possible to identify the cause of back pain but the stresses and strains of people’s daily lives is a common culprit. The current lockdown enforced in the UK is bound to exacerbate bad habits that can lead to back pain.
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Workplace environments implement best practices designed to support the back but home environments invariably lack the resources to provide the same level of support.
Sitting awkwardly for long hours can encourage bad posture, which in turn places strain on the back.
According to the NHS, keeping active can strengthen the back muscles and alleviate back pain so it is important to move about regularly throughout the way.
Another simple and effective way to alleviate back pain is to apply a hot or cold pack to the affected area.
“Some people find that heat (such as a hot bath or a hot water bottle placed on the affected area) helps to ease the pain when back pain first starts,” explains the NHS.
The health body says applying cold (such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables) on the painful area can also help in the short term.
“However, do not put ice directly on your skin, as it might cause a cold burn,” cautions the health site.
To overcome this problem, wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables in a cloth or towel first.
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“Another option is to alternate between hot and cold using ice packs and a hot water bottle,” adds the NHS.
Other ways to alleviate back pain
In addition to physical therapies, psychological therapies may also help.
Bupa explains: “It can be difficult to be optimistic when you’ve had back pain for a long time.
“But staying positive as well as staying active can help you recover and avoid it becoming long term.”
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According to the health body, if you find your back pain is causing you to feel upset or worried, psychological support for lower back pain can help you cope.
“Your doctor may suggest a talking therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) alongside exercise,” it says.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
When should I get surgery?
“Surgery for back pain is usually only recommended if there’s a specific medical reason for your pain, such as sciatica or a slipped (prolapsed) disc, and other treatments have not helped,” explains the NHS.
According to the health site, a procedure called radiofrequency denervation may sometimes be used if:
- You’ve had back pain for a long time
- Your pain is moderate or severe
Your pain is thought to originate from the joints in your Spine
“The procedure involves inserting needles into the nerves that supply the affected joints,” explains the health body.
It adds: “As with all procedures, radiofrequency denervation carries a risk of complications, including bleeding, bruising, infection and accidental nerve damage.”
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