7 treatment methods for tackling back pain

Back pain can develop for any number of reasons. It may be due to an injury or a long-term complication, and the severity of pain can vary from person to person. That is why having an array of treatment techniques is important, to see which methods work best for you in controlling pain, and potentially even reversing it.

Earlier this year a study reported that people with diabetes are more likely to report back and neck pain. This didn’t state that diabetes was the cause, but an association appears to exist. Because diabetes can sometimes lead to painful complications in later life, being aware of treatment techniques can help you to act quickly, and not just assume back pain will go away.

Here are seven treatment methods that have been shown to help with tackling back pain.

1. Back stretches and exercises

There are several back stretches and exercises that can help to reduce back pain. These can be carried out at home or work, however often you need to. Your GP can provide you with information about the types of exercises and stretches that will best help you.

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been reported in a variety of research to help with pain management, and the benefits extend to back pain. In 2016, US scientists revealed that treatment with mindfulness helped adults with chronic back pain experience pain reduction and greater functionality [1].

3. Cushion the impact

Sleeping with a cushion or pillow between your knees could help too [2]. Most useful for those who sleep predominantly on their side, this can reduce the pressure on your spine and lower stress on your hips and lower back. For maximum impact, try pulling your knees up slightly toward your chest [3].

4. Exercise classes

Staying physically active is important if you have back pain [2]. Exercise is great for your overall health, as we all know, but it can also tackle back pain and prevent it returning. The NHS holds a variety of group exercise programmes that your GP can inform you about, which vary from muscle-strengthening classes to aerobic and posture classes [4].

5. Hot and cold packs

The effectiveness of hot and/or cold compression packs may depend on your individual pain. But some people find that heat (either a pack, or a hot bath) can ease pain, while cold ice packs can too provide relief. Alternating between the two is also an option. You can pick up these packs at most pharmacies.

6. Painkillers

If you find that your back pain will not subside then your GP may be able to provide painkillers designed to relieve back pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) tablets, such as ibuprofen, can help relieve back pain. Alternative medications such as codeine may help too if for whatever reason NSAIDs aren’t suitable for you.

7. Psychological therapy

Staying positive is important, and changing how you think about your back pain can make a difference. Psychological support such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help alongside an exercise programme and improve the way you cope with pain. You could also use the Diabetes Forum to source support from others and help you feel less alone.

 

References:

[1] Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Emergency Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network. 2016. Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Emergency Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network. [ONLINE] Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2504811?resultClick=3. [Accessed 17 July 2019].

[2] Back pain treatments and causes | Health Information | Bupa UK. 2019. Back pain treatments and causes | Health Information | Bupa UK. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/back-care/back-pain. [Accessed 16 July 2019].

[3] Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center . 2019. Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4460. [Accessed 17 July 2019].

[4] Nhs.uk. 2017. Back pain – Treatment – NHS. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain/treatment/. [Accessed 16 July 2019].

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About the author

Jack Woodfield

Jack is Editorial Manager of Diabetes.co.uk. He works hard, plays fair and sleeps whenever possible. He has type 1 diabetes, doesn't mind being called a "diabetic", and once won a talent show for dancing to Dario G’s 1997 hit “Sunchyme”.

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