What to Do If You Strain Your Back

It is estimated that at some point in our lives, at least eighty percent of us will have difficulties with back pain. There are a lot of things that can cause it, arthritis, injuries, pregnancy and improper lifting techniques are at the top of the list.

Back strain can be caused by a few things. Most of the time, it's from not lifting heavy items in the right way. It may also be trying to lift too much, repetitive motions or over taxing your muscles. When these problems occur, they can cause you pain that lasts a long time.

Once upon a time, we were told that those suffering from this problem should spend as much time as possible laying down. That would rest the muscles, and theoretically shorten the time suffering. However, recent studies have indicated that this is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Instead, those who've strained muscles are encouraged to get up and resume their normal schedule. This may also prevent your back from tightening up, which would only make the problem worse.

We were also told that a firm mattress was best for your back, especially if you have problems in that area. This, too, is now under fire. A medium mattress is much better, allowing your body's natural curves a place for firm support.

Depending on the severity of the pain, you may require prescription medications. There are some rather nasty side effects, especially if narcotics are used. If possible, stick to regular NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. Be sure to follow package instructions, as taking too much can cause some serious problems.

One of the things I use a lot when my back flairs up is a mixture of comfrey, gotu kola and willow bark soaked in olive oil for six weeks. This is a good topical pain reliever, although you may want to skip the willow if you are allergic to aspirin. Also, there is debate about the use of comfrey, even in topical preparations. It could cause kidney and liver damage.

If the pain persists, you should see your doctor. You could have a more serious condition that requires medical attention. You should also ask your doctor about using the herbal preparations, in case there are interactions either with medications you currently take or any medical conditions you might have.

Your doctor may suggest physical therapy for the pain. This is a very good idea, though you may want to ask if it could be aquatic rather than on land. The water will not cause the impact you can find in gym based therapy.