Back Pain

I came into work yesterday an hour late due to a sore back. I felt okay the night before but when I woke up in the morning I was shocked at the pain I felt when I tried to pop out of bed to take a shower. So instead I took 3 ibuprofen and laid down on a heating pad for 40 minutes then took that shower. It all helped. A little.

Today I feel much better and bring this all up due to a study that came out in the Januay 31 issue of theBritish Medical Journal. According to an accompanying editorial:

"The review by Martimo and colleagues confirms how little we know about how to prevent and treat back pain. This may be because back pain is a symptom and not a disease.Or perhaps the disorder cannot be reversed once it becomes established, so that no treatment could be effective.

None of the randomised controlled trials or cohort studies included in the reviewfound a positive effect of advice or training in working techniques—with or without lifting equipment—for preventing back pain or consequent disability."

The title of the main article is Effect of training and lifting equipment for preventing back pain in lifting and handling: systematic review and it concludes that no intervention, whether training, drugs or device, seems to help in a statistically significant way.

So essentially the concluson is that until we know more about the causes and pathology of back pain, nothing that we do seems to help on a consistant basis. My own experience backs that up. When I had my last serious back episode I was in Asheville, and I found that soaking in a hot tub helped a lot but only as long as I was in that wonderful hot water. Within 15 minutes of exiting the hot tub, the pain was back. I've also found that repetitive side to side motion, like paddling a kayak, really helps me and that relief usually lasts for weeks--but it doesn't help every time. As far as I've been able to determine for myself, no treatment works perfectly to eliminate pain and nothing helps every single time.

So to open this up for discussion, do you have any back problems, and if so what do you do about it and how effective is your intervention? I could use some fresh ideas!


Diane Mandy said…
I have avoided back problems, but have many friends who have had some. My boss actually brought a mat to work and lays on the floor with his laptop to work on email. He also spends many minutes stretching throughout the day. It works for him.
Thumper said…
What works best for me when my back hurts the most is to wear a Thermacare back provides nice, even heat for 6-8 hours, like walking around with a heating pad on the offending area all the time.

Getting in a hot tub works, but like you said, only for that time you're in it. Sometimes for a little while after. But Thermacare is portable heat, and when my back flares up, a couple of days of that helps a whole lot.

Doesn't cure...I'd love to live life without back pain again, but it brings it down to a dull roar.
Nina said…
I have been told by more than one doctor that my back is a disaster (because of my breasts). My back doesn't hurt, but more than one physician has recommended that I get rid of about half of what I have up front. How distressing. One thing I do think helps is stretching - which is the same thing as the twisting you talk about. Feel better soon!
kenju said…
Thumper is right about the Thermacare heat pad/belts. I swear by them. I have been having lower back pain, sciatica and a muscle spasm in my upper back for about 2 weeks. Wet heat helps a lot. Can you soak in a hot tub?

I am going to get a massage tomorrow, and I know that will help.
Deana said…
I messed up and took hot baths after our auto accident and then the doc told me mine was muscle strain, spasms whatever and I should've used ice. And that walking and excercising would help and not hurt which is good because I didn't want to lose any momentum since I'd just gotten back into the gym hot and heavy. But it is a bitch when your back hurts...I hope you feel better soon.
tiff said…
I find that tennis and raqetball work WONDERS on the back pain. It must be like kayaking, I guess.

Nothign else but that really does anything atall, and the absolute WORST thing to do is to baby it. Weird. weird. weird.

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