Most low back pain can be treated without surgery. Treatment often involves:
Most patients with back pain recover without residual functional loss. Patients should contact a doctor if there is no noticeable improvement after 72 hours of self-care.
Cold and hot packs for some, may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility. Apply a cold compress to the tender spot several times a day for up to 20 minutes. After a few days of cold treatment, apply heat for brief periods to relax muscles and increase blood flow. Warm baths may also help. Patients should avoid sleeping on a heating pad, which can cause burns and lead to additional tissue damage.
Bed rest? Experts suggest only 1 to 2 days at most. You should resume activities as soon as possible.
Exercise may be an effective way to speed recovery from low back pain and help strengthen muscles. This is particularly important for persons with skeletal irregularities.
Physical therapists can provide a list of gentle exercises that help keep muscles moving and speed the recovery process.
These may include:
Mild discomfort felt at the start of these exercises should disappear as muscles become stronger. But if pain is more than mild and lasts more than 15 min. during exercise, patients should stop and contact a doctor.