April 17, 2024

What really helps against back pain?

Back pain is nowadays considered to be the number one common disease. Almost everyone knows it: one wrong movement, a lumbago and it pinches and twinges in the back or lumbar region. Even schoolchildren are increasingly affected by it.

In most cases, back pain can be remedied without major medical intervention. Often, however, serious illnesses are the trigger.

What you can do for back pain or how you can prevent it and when a visit to the doctor is advisable, here you will learn everything you need to know about the topic.

What can be the cause of back pain?

Non-specific complaints

From a medical point of view it is often said that the back is the mirror of the respective lifestyle. Thus, back pain often occurs with:

  • lack of movement,
  • one-sided strain,
  • bad posture,
  • Overweight,
  • Stress and mental strain.

Specific complaints

In the case of specific back complaints, certain diseases are the main cause of the pain. These include:

  • Herniated disc,
  • Nerve contusions (sciatic nerve),
  • Wear and tear of the spine,
  • Radiating pain due to inflammation in other organs (pancreas, kidneys, lungs, heart, esophagus).

What to do in case of acute back pain

If the back pain comes suddenly, you can get relief with the so-called stepped position. Lie down on the floor and rest your lower legs on a chair or stool so that your upper and lower legs form a right angle.

Breathe deeply and calmly. If the pain subsides by itself, you can try to move normally again.

Heat is helpful for tense back muscles

The following measures can therefore alleviate acute attacks of pain:

  • Hot water bottle,
  • Hot baths or showers,
  • irradiation with a red light lamp,
  • Sauna,
  • Fango packs,
  • ABC patches,
  • Rheumatism ointment.

But beware: In case of inflammation, heat makes the pain symptoms worse!

When should a doctor be consulted?

If a back problem is directly related to certain previous illnesses or accompanying symptoms, the cause must be clarified by the doctor.

Especially if it is unusually severe discomfort that does not subside or even worsens. This also applies in the event that coughing, sneezing or pressing have a pain-intensifying effect.

In these cases, you should see a doctor immediately:

  • in case of complaints in the back area after a fall or accident,
  • In the case of pain attacks that are accompanied by fever or night sweats,
  • In the case of simultaneous paralysis symptoms in the legs,
  • in case of intestinal dysfunction or difficulties in emptying the bladder,
  • For numbness on the inner thighs or in the genital area,
  • for painful conditions in the back in the context of a known cancer disease.

Back pain – diagnosis and therapy

The medical therapy for each type of back pain depends on the respective diagnosis. The prelude to this is a detailed consultation.

Here, pre-existing conditions, chronic symptoms or other diseases are scrutinized, which could be responsible for the low back pain.

Also, details about the general lifestyle provide information about which are the causes of the problems. For mild low back pain or tension symptoms, the doctor usually prescribes a mild painkiller in tablet form.

If the pain attacks are more severe and there is no causative concomitant disease, the doctor also often resorts to tension-relieving injections.

These painkillers are considered short-term therapeutic methods, but they are not effective for chronic back discomfort.

Non-medicinal treatment methods

To strengthen the back area or even to support treatment, the doctor can resort to non-medicinal treatment methods. These include, for example:

  • Massages,
  • Physiotherapy,
  • Therapeutic and exercise baths,
  • Manual therapy methods,
  • Heat treatments (fango),
  • Acupuncture.

These so-called passive therapy measures are sometimes also combined with active measures. Here you need to be active, for example, as part of physiotherapy at home to continue to strengthen the back and build up the muscles.

If there is no noticeable improvement within a few weeks, a combination treatment is often carried out, consisting of a mixture of pain, movement and psychotherapy.

Last resort surgery?

In most cases, acute or chronic back problems are only surgically repaired in exceptional cases. This applies if a specific cause has been identified.

However, experience shows that surgery does not necessarily guarantee a pain-free life. Some patients often complain of even more severe back problems after such an operation.

If affected vertebral bodies are reinforced with metal rods, for example, this should only be done if there is a clear displacement and a high degree of instability of the vertebral bodies.

Possible damage caused by such surgery is almost impossible to repair again. Injecting drugs into the spinal cord through a catheter is also controversial because of side effects.

Back problems – what everyone can do for themselves

About 85% of the back patients could counteract the problems themselves by taking preventive measures. In principle, the best remedy is sufficient exercise, because lack of exercise is one of the main causes of back problems.

Even after a herniated disc, exercise is beneficial and, in the best case, can save an operation. However, some exercises should be done under expert instruction and supervision, at least in the beginning. Here are some tips from physiotherapists and sports physicians.

10.000 steps per day

Especially if you have an office job, it often happens that you have too little movement. It would be optimal to get up from your desk once an hour and move around for a few minutes.

Stretching exercises are also useful. If the possibility exists, a small walk in the lunch break or after work can also do a lot of good.

The official recommendation is to take 10.000 steps to take. This strengthens the circulatory system, the joints and likewise the back muscles.

Back school and back building

Back school, as well as special health courses for the back, are in many cases subsidized by the health insurance. They are offered in health centers, fitness centers or also at the adult education center.

Many companies also promote the health of their employees by offering to cover the costs of special health courses.

Do sports

Endurance sports such as swimming, cycling, jogging or Nordic walking strengthen the muscles throughout the body and also support the back muscles.

Yoga and Tai-Chi

Yoga and tai chi are excellent ways to improve posture, especially when sitting for long periods, and to strengthen the back muscles.

Tips last but not least – what you can do in everyday life

Finally, the following tips have proven effective in everyday life:

Lose weight

Excess weight promotes back problems. If you lose weight, you automatically relieve the spine as well.

Correct lifting

Keeping the back straight and bent at the knees when bending and lifting.

Ergonomic office furniture

Attention should be paid to ergonomic chairs and tables for the workplace. If the back is curved at work, this leads to tension and incorrect stresses.

Orthopedic mattresses and pillows

You spend about a third of your life in bed. A high-quality mattress and ergonomically shaped pillows ensure a good night’s sleep and a healthy back area.