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Is my back in bad health? | 4 min reading time

Get rid of back pain quickly: 5 tips to help you with this

Written by Theresia Lechner
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If you want to get rid of acute back pain quickly, it is very important to maintain control of your pain, even if it is very severe. Not the reverse [1]. But how do you manage to become pain-free as quickly as possible all by yourself? Here are a few very helpful and easy-to-implement tips:

1. Move about

Your back is a movement systemnot a “lying-around-in-bed” system. It is normal for movement to be a bit painful at first, and doesn’t mean that you are making it worse. Perhaps you need more breaks than usual and have totake a slower approach to certain activities. But remember, breaks that last for longer than a day do more harm than good. It is certainly important not to wait until your pain has fully disappeared. On the contrary, you should already be active as much as possible beforehand [2,3].

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Staying in bed for long periods of time does your back more harm than good

2. Exercise regularly

No matter whether running, walking, cycling, yoga, pilates or swimming. All of these types of exercise have a positive effect on your back pain and are safe. The best thing to do is to chose the type of exercise that you enjoy the most and is feasible to integrate into your day-to-day life for the long-term. Maybe you’d like to do exercises but you’re not sure how and what exactly you can do. In this instance, you can ask your GP to refer you for physiotherapy. A physiotherapist can advise, treat and motivate you. Regular exercise is the only measure that is preventative against reoccurring back pain episodes. It even reduces the risk of your back pain from reoccurring by half [1,2,3].

By the way, pain relievers are not a cure for back pain. For a short period of time, they can help you to become more active in your day-to-day life again. But in the long term they do more harm than good [1].

If you want to get rid of your back pain as quickly as possible, doing regular exercise helps more than pain relievers [1].

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Cycling can be a good alternative to the long-term intake of pain relievers

3. Don’t panic

Back pain affects everyone at least once in their life. That is why it is, unfortunately, a very normal part of our day-to-day lives. Similar to [2]:

  • Being tired
  • Being sad
  • Catching a cold

9 out of 10 people with back pain are pain free again after two months at the latest. And all without ever having seen a doctor. In most cases, X-rays, MRIs and blood tests are, if anything, superfluous and don’t help you in identifying the cause. They often lead to unnecessary treatments, like injections and operations. This, in turn, prevents you from doing things that are actually helpful, such as exercising regularly [1,2,3].

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Unfortunately, back pain is just part of everyday life. So no reason to panic

4. Go back to work as soon as you can

You don’t have to wait until your pain has completely disappeared to go back to work. On the contrary, we now know that this kind of behaviour can actually prolong your episode of back pain. So better to speak to your employer about easing yourself back in to work. Perhaps with fewer working hours or easier tasks, which can then slowly be increased.

It is also an idea to have a physiotherapist or doctor guide and advise you on your way back into work. If your job mainly involves sitting down, make sure you don’t stay in one position for too long and ensure you integrate small movement routines into your day-to-day life.

Your back loves movement, so plan it in consciously [1,2].

Bear in mind that there are also non-physical factors that can influence your back pain very significantly [1,2]:

  • Your relationship with your boss and your colleagues
  • Satisfaction with your job
  • Feeling supported at work (also with regards to your back pain)

If you want to get rid of your back pain quickly, it is a good idea to think outside the box – or, in this case, outside the structure of your back.

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Structure your return to work in the most relaxed way possible

5. Be aware of the fact that it is not just your back, but also you as a person, that wants the back pain to go away quickly

We now know that there are various triggers or intensifiers when it comes to back pain. Many of these cannot be directly traced back to a back injury [2]:

  • Depression
  • Fear of moving
  • Stress
  • The fear that your back pain won’t get better
  • Fatigue and burn-out
  • Low energy
  • Sleeping problems
  • Little movement in daily life
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Financial problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Difficult life circumstances (death or illness)

Taking these points into consideration can help you find out something about your personal triggers and perhaps to modify them consciously. Accordingly, you can combine activities in a smart way: for example, don’t just going swimming, go swimming with someone who does you good.

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The triggers and intensifiers of back pain are multifarious

What you have learnt about getting rid of back pain quickly

Now that you have read this article, you now know that it is important to…

  • keep moving
  • exercise regularly (swimming, running, walking, yoga etc.)
  • go back to work as quickly as possible
  • not panic
  • become aware that it is about more than just your back

…if you want your back pain to go away again quickly.

Back up your knowledge

It is very unlikely that your back pain is specific, i.e. that there is a serious underlying medical problem. However, you should see a doctor immediately if any of the following criteria apply to you [3]:

  • Sudden outbreaks of sweat and feeling cold
  • Weight loss
  • Problems controlling your bladder, intestines or genitalia (impotence)
  • Numbness or tingling in your buttocks, genitalia or upper inner thigh
  • You have osteoporosis
  • The pain was preceded by an accident (e.g. a serious fall)
  • You have a history of cancer
  • You inject drugs intravenously

Important to note:
This article contains general recommendations only and must not be used for self-diagnosing or self-treatment. It is not a replacement for visiting your GP.