Back Pain From the Snow & Ice? Get the Facts and Help!
- RISK FACTORS OF BACK PAIN ARE – smoking, obesity, older age, female gender, physically strenuous work, sedentary work, low education, anxiety/depression, vibration exposure (even from certain automobiles), and now there is evidence that certain foods may contribute to back pain.
The book “Foods That Fight Pain” by Dr. Neal Barnard gives excellent information on especially dietary treatment for back pain, and other causes of pain and medical problems (and many excellent recipes). His recommendations are included under the Dr. Barnard recommendations below.
Self Care – very important for all to remain active, get proper sleep/rest (at least 7-9 hours/night), maintain good muscle tone/physical fitness, concentrate and work daily to maintain your best posture (especially important when working at a computer to keep your neck and back properly aligned), and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of plain water daily (so a 200 pound person needs to drink at least 100 ounces/day – I drink 30 ounces at each of 3 meals per day even though I weigh 130 pounds)
- –a medium firm back conforming mattress may help, and there is no compelling evidence lumbar supports help
- –cool/ice after injury for first 48 hours, then heat or cool (Thermacare wraps are effective), certain OTC creams like Bengay, Tiger Balm, Salonpas, or Vicks Vapor Rub can help
- –pain medicine (Tylenol/acetominophen, non steroidals like Advil/ibuprofen or Aleve/naproxen and available in patches like Flector Patch, and sometimes prescription medicines Ultram (tramedol) or narcotic pain medicines such as Tylenol w Codeine or Vicodin (hydrocodone) or Lidoderm (lidocaine patches)
- —-skeletal muscle relaxants (Flexeril/cyclobenzaprine, Skelaxin, Soma/carisoprodol)
- –rarely benzodiazepines (Valium/diazepam) or antidepressant/anti-anxiety medicines (Elavil/amitriptyline, trazedone, Prozac/Zoloft/Celexa/Lexapro)
- –anti-seizure medicines (Neurontin/gabepentin)
Activity & Physical Treatments – in addition to self care, all people with back pain need regular physical activity
- —exercise therapy (stretching exercises, core strengthening, general physical fitness, yoga and Pilate’s)
- –physical therapy
- –spinal manipulation – usually from a good chiropractor (Dr. Ed Zimmer and Abigail Eaton are excellent chiropractors and nutritionists in our office complex, 813-1998, and I see Dr. Zimmer about monthly to keep from having neck/back pain)
- –acupuncture (Amy Yang is excellent here in Indinapolis, 317-876-1054)
- –massage (excellent masseuse here in Indianapolis is Josh Neal at 317-872-3380 – I see him for a 1 hour Swedish massage about monthly to keep from having neck/back pain)
- –cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback – from trained therapists
Physical Modalities – used by some physical therapists or chiropractors or osteopaths
- –low laser therapy
- –short wave diathermy
- –trans cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Medical/Physician Treatments (Commuity Spine Center and Dr. Foley and his associates are great back and spine specialists for consultation, 621-9292)
- –epidural steroid injections
- –facet joint steroid injections
- –trigger point steroid injections
- –sacroiliac steroid injections
- –surgery – discectomy, fusion surgery, laminectomy
- –thermal/laser/radiofrequency treatments
- –See your doctor (to make sure not a more serious condition and for help on the things listed here)
- –Follow an artery opening diet (low fat mostly vegetarian as in his book and following the first 4 food groups in my previous blog-drawing your nutrition from plant sources helps clear arteries and keep calcium in your bones), regular exercise, no smoking, and manage stress
- –No more than 2 cups of coffee/day (or switch to decaf) and limit salt use
- –Follow a regular exercise program – exercise reduces pain, strengthens back muscles, helps open arteries, and protects your bones and more!
- –Vitamin B6 (50-150mg/day) and powdered Ginger (1/2-1 tsp/day) may help with pain
- –Chiropractic adjustments can help
- –Be cautious about surgery and get a second opinion
- –Simple pain killers (like Tylenol or ibuprofen) can be helpful, but it is best to avoid narcotics to avoid the chance of addiction
Here’s to all our back and spine and body health!