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Back Pain

What is the best treatment for back pain?

If you're dealing with persistent low back pain, there are several treatment options to help with pain relief and muscle tension. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cold packs, and heating pads - along with old-fashioned bed rest - are among the most commonly prescribed treatments for lower back pain. Chronic low back pain can be complicated, though, and additional back pain treatment may be needed. Some of the best treatments for back pain include:

Hot/ Cold Therapies: Bed rest and a steady dose of heating pads and ice packs can help stimulate blood flow to the ligaments and muscles in the back. This can help reduce inflammation of the soft tissues in the back and speed up recovery time, especially when complemented with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with back pain relief. Drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve) will reduce inflammation and reduce pain symptoms.

Muscle relaxants: Muscle relaxants are used to treat acute, rather than chronic, low back pain. These drugs are usually used if NSAIDs are unable to help with pain management. Muscle relaxers will release muscle tension in the back, which can help reduce muscle spasms and back pain.

Physical therapy/ chiropractic care: A physical therapist can offer medical advice, acupuncture therapy, and stretching exercises to increase physical activity and strengthen the abdominal muscles that can help support the back. Weak abdominal muscles are one of the most common causes of low back pain. Strengthening these muscles can help with the stability and support of the lumbar vertebrae. Physical therapy can help restore mobility affected by:
- Herniated disk
- Back sprains
- Compression fractures
- Spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis in the back)
- Sciatica
- Osteoporosis/ Osteoarthritis
- Lumbar spinal stenosis

Chiropractors can also help with pain management and injury prevention by providing hands-on health care like spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation thrusts joints in the spine into their proper place, helping take pressure off certain areas of the spine and improve posture.

Back pain is one of the most common causes of disability in America, with nearly 60-70% of adults experiencing some form of lower back pain every year. Chronic low back pain can lead to missed work, high health care costs, and reduced quality of life. Fed up with a constant ache in your back? Get in touch with a real, quality doctor on Sesame to book a convenient and affordable back pain consultation. Doctors on Sesame will address your symptoms, recommend treatment options, and offer referrals if needed. Don't wait to treat your low back pain. Save up to 60% when you book an in-person or video visit on Sesame - no insurance needed.

How can I relieve back pain at home?

Dealing with an aching back? Back pain affects millions of Americans every year - leading to over $100 billion in health care costs per year. The good news? Many cases of low back pain can be managed with simple, affordable, at-home remedies such as:

Stretching and exercise: Physical therapy and exercise can help prevent further injury and reduce low back pain. Building the back and abdominal muscles through light strength training and mobility exercises helps stabilize the spine and take the pressure off the bones and joints in the back. Additionally, a stretching routine can loosen muscles in the back and stimulate blood flow to the posterior chain, helping speed up recovery.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medication: NSAID pain relievers can reduce inflammation and relieve pain. These drugs are inexpensive and can be found in most major drugstores.

Hot/cold therapy: Rest, along with a steady diet of cold packs and heating pads, can help lessen swelling and stimulate blood flow. By reducing inflammation and improving circulation, blood can help soft tissues and muscles in the back recover quicker.

Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is one of the common causes of back pain, as excess weight can put pressure on the spine. Physical activity and a healthy diet can help minimize undue stress on the back, reducing the risk of injury and low back pain.

How long does it take for back pain to go away?

It depends. The causes of back pain are diverse, ranging from injuries (like a herniated disk or sprain) to medical conditions (like osteoarthritis or sciatica). Your prognosis is determined in large part by the condition causing your pain.

In most cases, back pain is treatable at home with some inexpensive remedies. If your symptoms are mild or moderate, a routine of exercise, stretching, hot/cold therapy, and OTC pain relievers can help the pain go away in a matter of weeks. Moderate back pain will usually start to disappear after about 6 weeks of treatment. While home remedies can help alleviate pain, it is recommended you consult a doctor about your condition. Connect on Sesame with real, quality doctors in to get the pain relief you need today.

If you have had a back injury, or are experiencing back pain due to a medical condition, it may take longer for your symptoms to start to go away. During your treatment, ask your doctor for medical advice about how to reduce recovery time and prevent further injury to your back. Stick to the dosage for any medication prescribed by your doctor, and supplement medical treatments with physical therapy or chiropractic care to improve mobility, if recommended.

How can I prevent back pain?

The American Chiropractic Association states that at least one-half of working Americans experience back pain symptoms every year. Back pain isn't just a health issue - it's an economic one. Back pain is the leading cause of disability in America, and is responsible for nearly $100 billion in health care costs, lost pay, and decreased productivity. There are several tips and strategies to help prevent or manage low back pain including:

Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can cause strain on back muscles, which can lead to tightness and strain. A healthy diet and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and put less stress on the musculoskeletal structures in your back.

Exercise: A low-impact exercise program that doesn’t strain the back can help improve mobility and build strength. Physical activities that use the back muscles and abdominal muscles help to condition those areas and build core strength, preventing back injury. The Mayo Clinic recommends frequent walking and swimming as low-impact activities that can help build strength and endurance in the core and back. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help with weight loss, and general wellness.

Quit smoking: Smoking leads to loss of blood flow, which keeps much-needed oxygen and nutrients from reaching spinal tissues. Smoking increases your risk of lower back pain and may cause an increase in the amount you smoke during the day. Quitting smoking can help prevent lower back pain, among a wide range of other health benefits.

Maintain proper posture: Slouching and improper posture can put a strain on back muscles. If you are able, sit in chairs that feature lumbar support and change your position frequently. Try to stand and walk around every half-hour or so to prevent from back muscles tightening.

Lift properly: Lift heavy objects with your legs, keep your back straight, and refrain from twisting while lifting. Hold the object you are lifting close to your body, and get help if the object seems too heavy. Lifting with improper technique, or lifting objects that are too heavy, can cause herniated discs and lower back pain.

As with any medical condition, the cause of your back pain may be different. That's why it's best to connect directly with a qualified doctor to assess your symptoms and craft a treatment plan that's right for you, your back, and your health.

What causes back pain?

Back pain can be caused by any number of problems. According to the ACA, back pain is the third most common reason for doctor’s office visits although not usually caused by serious conditions such as arthritis, infection, or cancer. Some common causes of back pain are:

Muscle or ligament strain: Heavy lifting, sudden movement, or awkward sleeping positions have been known to cause strain on muscles and ligaments in the back. Pulled muscles, tendons, and ligaments can lead to tightness in the back and painful spasms.

Bulging discs: The back has 24 spinal discs, which are spongy cushions that separate the individual vertebrae in the spinal cord and up through the neck. These discs act as shock absorption and allow for pivot points (movement) in the back. When inflammation occurs around the tough membrane surrounding the vertebral disc without rupturing it, the disc is referred to as bulging. Bulging discs can lead to numbness, pain, and difficulty walking (among other symptoms).

Herniated discs: Herniated discs, or slipped discs, are often confused for bulging discs. A herniated disc, though, has ruptured the tough membrane surrounding the spongy tissue, causing the soft material to push through the rupture and irritate nerves around the area. Herniated discs can cause arm or leg pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Herniated discs can cause inflammation leading to pinched nerves which can affect limbs and mobility.

Arthritis (or osteoarthritis): According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is not a single disease, but a way to refer to joint pain or joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; characterized by swelling and tenderness in the joints, usually caused by the deterioration of cartilage between bones in joints. This causes bones to rub up against each other during movement, which leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain. Arthritis usually worsens with age, as cartilage continues to break down. Obesity and medical history can also contribute to risk factors associated with arthritis.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose mass, thereby becoming weak and brittle. When the body loses too much bone mass without making enough replacement bone, bones can be fractured more easily. In severe cases, osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures from small occurrences like sneezing or bending over. When left untreated, osteoporosis leads to back pain, loss of height, and easy bone breakage.

Stress: Poor posture, excess weight, or inadequate exercise can lead to pressure in the muscles on the back. If the body is constantly hunched over, or muscles are left tight without stretching, the muscles in the back have to work extra hard to maintain mechanical mobility. This can lead to aching and soreness in the back.

Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes fatigue, pain in muscles and bones, tenderness, and cognitive disturbances (like lack of sleep). Fibromyalgia causes regions of pain that produce a constant dull aching. Because the nerves of the body are constantly being stimulated due to pain, the brain develops an abnormal nervous system response to pain, causing the pain receptors in the brain to overreact to pain and non-painful stimuli. Illness, trauma, stress, and genetic inheritance (family history of the disease) can cause fibromyalgia.

Back pain is one of the most persistent and widespread conditions affecting Americans today, Sesame offers a range of care options such as chronic care visits, chiropractic visits, and physical therapy visits.

What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, stretching from the lumbar spine to the lower leg. Sciatica is the name for nerve pain caused by irritation and inflammation of this nerve, resulting in pain that radiates from the lower back, through the hips, and into the lower leg. Sciatica usually affects one leg at a time, but can be felt in both legs based on where the nerve is pinched or irritated in the back. Some risk factors associated with sciatica include:

Obesity: Being overweight can create stress on the muscles surrounding the spine. The more that muscles in the back have to work to carry weight in front, the more strained they become. Increased strain on muscles can lead to injury and herniated discs, which then cause irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

Age: Normal aging causes the wearing down of the bones and disc tissue, leading to curvature and herniated discs in the spine. These factors can inflame and pinch the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica. The Mayo Clinic states that age-related wear on the spinal cord is the most common cause of sciatica.

Lack of muscle strength: Lack of strength in the back muscles, and abdominal muscles leads to loss of support for the lower back. Building strength in the core muscles gives the lumbar spine, and the larger spinal column, more stability and support. This can help prevent herniation, injury to the spinal nerves, and acute low back pain.

Diabetes: Diabetes increases risk of nerve damage, which can lead to sciatica in the lower back.

Sciatica usually goes away with time, and can be managed with self-care treatments done at home. Over-the-counter Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some NSAIDs can cause serious side effects, such as internal bleeding and ulcers. If you are unable to take NSAIDs, acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can be used to fight inflammation and reduce pain. Hot/ cold compresses can also be used to reduce inflammation and help with pain.

If sciatica does not improve after a few days of self-care treatment, it is recommended that you contact a doctor to help with treatment. Some severe or persistent cases of sciatica can be treated with:

Prescription medication: If you are experiencing muscle spasms or severe pain caused by sciatica, a doctor may prescribe high-powered muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or pain medication to help with swelling and pain relief.

Steroid injections: Epidural steroid injections or corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce swelling and ease pain around the nerve roots in the spinal cord. The effects of these injections wear off after a few months, and administration of steroid injections must be limited due to negative side effects.

Alternative therapy: Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic treatment options (such as spinal manipulation or adjustment) are commonly used to treat lower back pain and sciatica.

If you are experiencing lower back pain or pain caused by sciatica, connect with a doctor on Sesame to discuss treatment options that might be right for you.

How can I treat chronic low back pain?

Chronic low back pain is characterized by low back pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer. According to the NIH, roughly 20 percent of people who experience low back pain develop chronic back pain within the year. Most underlying causes of low back pain do not require serious medical attention and treatment plans may vary based on the patient’s risk factors.

Chronic low back pain may require an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan to examine soft tissue and check for any internal injuries or growths. Conditions such as kidney stones can cause acute low back pain, and a physical examination might be required to help diagnose any underlying causes of low back pain. Chronic low back pain can be treated by a doctor using treatment options such as:

Chiropractic adjustments: Doctors can use spinal manipulation to adjust or stimulate the spine and the soft tissues surrounding the spinal cord. This can help relieve pain and increase mobility but is not recommended for people with underlying causes of low back pain, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, or spondylosis.

Steroid injections: In some severe cases, a doctor may prescribe an epidural or corticosteroid injection to help relax muscles and relieve pain. Steroid injections can have adverse effects if used frequently, and provide only temporary relief.

Surgery: Back surgery may be required for severe chronic low back pain, or low back pain that is caused by degenerative diseases such as spondylolisthesis or arthritis. The exact surgical procedure varies based on the patient’s need, and back surgeries are not always successful. Surgery is often performed as a last resort to help relieve pain and regain some mechanical functionality in the back.

Whether you are experiencing acute low back pain, or have been dealing with chronic low back pain for several weeks, Sesame offers care from real, quality doctors near you. Don’t let low back pain control your life. Connect directly with a doctor on Sesame today to discuss treatment options that will work for you.

What can I do to relieve my lower back pain?

According to the low back pain fact sheet released by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), acute low back pain is the result of trauma or injury and usually goes away within a few days or a few weeks. Most low back pain is caused by injuries such as sprains, or disc herniation. There can be congenital causes of low back pain, such as scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), as well as degenerative causes such as arthritis, spondylosis (the wearing down of the spine due to age), and spinal stenosis (the narrowing of the spine).

Most forms of acute low back pain are treated with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), coupled with hot/ cold presses, and gentle stretching. These treatments are meant to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and gain mobility in the back and core muscles. Most primary care physicians and chiropractors can offer medical advice to help treat low back pain with at-home remedies and over-the-counter medication.

What is a chiropractor?

A chiropractor is a health care provider specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the back, neck, and spine.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care?

Chiropractors can help patients with several conditions such as back, neck, and shoulder pain; sciatica issues; and sports injuries. In addition to pain management and pain relief, a chiropractor can also help improve your quality of life and overall health by offering massage therapy and at-home exercise treatment plans.

Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in Americans. Lower back pain can lead to missed work, decreased range of motion, and ballooning health care costs. Chiropractors play a key role in helping relieve pain and restore the quality of life that you deserve.

How much does it cost to see a chiropractor near me?

Chiropractor visits can cost anywhere from $60-$100+, depending on the chiropractic office you visit. In many cases, chiropractic services are considered outpatient elective services, meaning you might pay for the full bill - even if you have insurance.

Sesame offers convenient and affordable chiropractic office visits near you starting at around $40. Don't let back pain take control of your life. Save up to 60% by booking a chiropractic appointment on Sesame with a real, quality professional. No hidden fees. No copays. Just the care you need.

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