Back pain is often uncomfortable and even debilitating. So when your options for regular treatment become limited, you may reach your wit’s end. Similarly, if you have to wait a couple of weeks for your next appointment for a pain management treatment, your pain can make your life unmanageable.
Your doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) help prepare you for those uncomfortable periods when treatment isn’t readily available. If your back pain becomes so acute that you just can’t wait to see your back specialist for some relief, do call your spine physician; there’s a good chance he can work you in for an appointment.
Seek Help As Soon As Possible
Taking care of your health —as well as maintaining your pain management regimen — ensures that your back problem doesn’t worsen and that your recovery continues unabated. Stress and pain can do just as much damage to your ongoing health as your initial back problem. Let your SSI doctor treat you with continuing care.
If you aren’t able to see your doctor right away, you may be able to take advantage of SSI’s virtual exam capabilities. View a brief explanation of a virtual exam. As a patient, your x-rays and chart are available to guide your virtual appointment. You’ll receive the best advice for therapies that can help, or if you need it, the doctor can call in a prescription for you until you can visit.
Following your most recent treatment or procedure, your SSI physical therapist provides you with appropriate exercises to do at home to maintain your level of recovery. You must continue with these to reduce your back pain between visits. Many stretching exercises are ideal for reducing pain in your back.
A few modifications or additional exercises may give you added relief as well. During a virtual visit with your doctor or your physical therapist, your level of pain is assessed. Your back specialist then guides you through stretches and exercises for your unique requirements.
Stay-at-Home Tips for Managing Pain
In addition to lowering stress and maintaining your recovery plan as much as possible, other tips from your SSI team for reducing back pain include:
- Moving around. While it may seem counterintuitive when you’re hurting, staying in one position for too long actually exacerbates painful back issues.
- Avoid long stretches of computer and phone time. Pouring over social media on your phone and sitting in front of a computer screen places excessive pressure on your shoulders, neck and back that only serve to worsen your discomfort.
- Apply topical pain-relieving ointments to the painful areas of your back. Creams that contain capsaicin are especially effective for back pain due to osteoarthritis.
- Numb the sore area with a cold pack. You can also use a bag of ice or frozen food wrapped in a towel. Keep the ice on for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Use heat to relieve muscle aches. Check the temperature of your heating pad, heated water bottle or cloth-wrapped rice bag to prevent burns.
- Wear supportive shoes even as you walk around your home. Walking around in flat slippers, in socks or barefoot can strain your back, something you don’t need during this time.
- Get sufficient sleep. Don’t take any caffeine in the afternoon or evening because it can keep you up. Talk to your SSI doctor about other remedies if sleep eludes you when your back pain worsens.
- Reduce stress with mindful meditation. This is the process of listening to your body and using your mind to direct healing where you need it. A study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research discovered that this practice, when performed regularly, can reduce pain and stress while increasing your quality of life.