Ask The Expert: Conservative options for treating back pain

Ask The Expert: Conservative options for treating back pain

(KUTV) If you want to treat back pain, but want to take a conservative approach, we have answers for you.

Haley Jones, a Certified Athletic Trainer at Intermountain Utah Valley Sports Medicine, explains some of the ways back pain can be treated.

Depending on the issue and severity of the back pain, several conservative options for treatment include:

  • Formal physical therapy
  • Medications
  • A back brace (demonstrate: centered over PSIS)
  • Home exercises: core stretches, hamstring stretches. Hamstring stretching can be critical in alleviating low back pain. Tight hamstrings pull down on the lower back muscles, causing injury and compromising posture.
  • Injection

Tips to prevent back pain:

  • When sitting, sit in a straight-backed chair and keep your back flat against the back of the chair
  • Carry objects close to your body with your arms bent, rather than out in front of you with arms extended
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects higher than your waist
  • Lift objects by bending your knees and hips and keep your back straight
  • Tips to alleviate back pain:
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Heat vs Ice-combos? Ice should be used for acute back injuries. Ice or cold packs can be applied for up to 20 minutes every 2 hours. However, there is some scientific evidence proving that heat is more effective for back injuries. Heat can be applied for up to 20 minutes at a time every 2 hours. It’s worth it to try both to see if one is more effective for you. Another option is alternating heat and ice, if you are dealing with chronic back pain. To alternate, you can heat for 10 minutes, ice for 10 minutes and finish with heating for another 10. A final option that people find effective is heating before exercise and then icing after. This helps to increase the blood flow and warm up the muscle and tissue before stretching and exercising, and to slow blood flow, help with pain and promote recovery after. It’s best to try it all and see what works best for you.

Back pain can be extremely frustrating, but often times it comes down to taking the time to try different things like stretching and strengthening, and getting a proper diagnosis if needed. If you can nail down what the issue is that is causing the back pain, you can open a new set of treatment options. Once you find what works for you, it can become easier to treat and stop future flare ups and similar pains.