There are many ways to prevent low back pain. Practicing prevention techniques may also help lessen the severity of your symptoms if you have a lower back injury.
- exercising the muscles in your abdomen and back
- losing weight if you’re overweight
- lifting items properly by bending at the knees and lifting with the legs
- maintaining proper posture
You may also want to:
- sleep on a firm surface
- sit on supportive chairs that are at the correct height
- avoid high-heeled shoes
- quit smoking, if you smoke
- Nicotine causes degeneration of spinal discs and also reduces blood flow.
Common medical treatments include:
Muscle relaxants: This medication acts as a depressant of the central nervous system and increases mobility of tense muscles, relieving pain from muscle tightness or spasms. Muscle relaxants have no role in chronic pain management.
Narcotic pain medications: Narcotic medications, also called opioids or painkillers, alter one’s perception of pain by weakening signals sent to the brain. Narcotic medications are most often used for treating intense, short-term pain, such as acute pain after an operation. Narcotics are rarely used to treat long-term pain, as they have many side effects and can easily become addictive.
Back braces: Some patients find that a back brace can be used to provide comfort and possibly reduce pain. There is some evidence that use of an inelastic corset-style brace, worn daily, in combination with a physical therapy exercise program, can speed healing and reduce pain.1 A back brace may also be helpful after back surgery.
Epidural steroid injections: This injection involves a steroid administered directly into the outer part of the dural sac, which surrounds the spinal cord. A live x-ray, called fluoroscopy, is used to guide the needle to the correct area. The goal of the injection is to temporarily relieve pain by reducing inflammation around a compressed nerve root.