How to Treat Back Pain at Home, and When You Should Call the Your Doctor

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Low back pain

So many visitors to nkch.org search for the term “back pain” that the condition consistently ranks in the Top 10 of our most-searched terms. Considering more than 31 million Americans will seek relief for back pain at some point in their lives, it’s really not all that surprising. Fortunately, most back pain can be cured […]

So many visitors to nkch.org search for the term “back pain” that the condition consistently ranks in the Top 10 of our most-searched terms. Considering more than 31 million Americans will seek relief for back pain at some point in their lives, it’s really not all that surprising. Fortunately, most back pain can be cured with a little tender loving self-care and time.

Common Causes

Back injuries, whether they are sports-, work- or recreational-related, are the most common cause of back pain. But age, family history, sitting for extended periods of time and degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can increase your odds of developing back pain. Poor posture doesn’t cause pain, but it can make it worse.
Back pain statistics in the U.S.

Prevent Pain

Chances are, if you’ve had low back pain, you’ll have it again. But there are steps you can take to feel better faster the next time around.

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects. If you must lift something, do it the right way.
  • Watch your weight. Excess weight contributes to your pain.
  • Sleeping on your side can reduce back pain.
  • Exercise regularly. Low-impact activity such as walking, swimming or riding a stationary bike can prevent — and relieve — back pain.
  • Practice good posture all the time. When you walk, sit or stand, make sure your ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line.
  • If you must sit for long periods of time, sit with your back straight and make sure your chair is the appropriate size and has good back support. Also, get up and move every so often.

When to Call Your Doctor

Most back injuries heal with self-care in about 2 weeks. If you’re still in pain after 2 weeks have passed, it’s time to call your doctor. You might need additional pain medication, different therapy exercises or diagnostic testing. If you suffer a severe back injury, don’t wait 2 weeks. Call your doctor immediately.

If you need help finding a primary care doctor, call 816.221.HEAL (4325), or find an orthopedic specialist on our website. We also offer classes, such Sports Performance Training and Tai Chi, that can help relieve or prevent back pain.

Matt Heintz

Matt Heintz

Matt is the community communications coordinator at North Kansas City Hospital. He focuses on coordination of community events.

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