It doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are, or what you do for a living, summer is always the time that holds the most promise for fun activities and an easing of tension and stress. Unfortunately, back pain can put a damper on your enthusiasm and hopes.
If you’re one of the many people worrying that back pain is going to sideline your summer activities, there are several steps you can take to keep you moving, in the game, and relatively pain free. Here are our top recommendations:
- Rest – There’s a difference between shutting yourself away from the fun and taking enough time to allow your back to relax and recover. Moderation in everything is almost always the best answer and that includes both movement and remaining stationary. If you’ve been experiencing back pain, give yourself a day or two to regroup and give your back a rest. When you nap or go to bed for the night, try to find the position that provides you with the most relief. For most people, that’s lying on your side and placing a pillow between your knees, though others may be more comfortable lying on their back with a pillow beneath the knees. When you start feeling better, start with easy activities.
- Over-the-Counter Medications – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen can all make a big difference, and are most effective when taken on a regular basis rather than in response to pain. Check with your physician to see which is most appropriate for your needs and won’t interfere with other medications or health issues.
- Exercise – Sometimes activity is the best medicine for back pain, but you should check with your physician to see which form will work best for your overall health and your specific back condition. For most people walking is a safe activity that can not only strengthen your core and muscles but also make you feel better. Exercises that include stretching, such as yoga or Pilates, are also frequently recommended, and swimming is a great way to get yourself moving without putting additional stress on your back.
- Ice or Heat – Don’t be afraid to try a strategically-placed ice pack or heating pad. Different people respond better to different treatments, but if you’re going to ice make sure that you don’t leave it on for more than about 15 minutes at a time or you can do damage to your skin.
If these approaches don’t provide you with relief, it may be time for you to seek medical attention from an experienced and skilled spine surgeon. A consultation does not automatically lead to surgical intervention: there are frequently non-invasive, conservative approaches that can relieve your pain and put you back on the path to enjoying your summertime plans faster than you think. To set up a time for an appointment, contact our office today.