What can I do about my Lower Back Pain?

by | Ask The Intern

What you need to know about your Lower Back Pain

Do you have lower back pain? If your lower back pain is similar to past episodes and you need assistance to get through this episode, then telemedicine can be a good place to start. Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons to seek medical advice.  Lower back pain is common with approximately 30% of adults having low back pain in the last 3 months.

Symptoms of lower back pain can include:

  • Pain that started after lifting
  • Pain that may go into you buttock or leg
  • Pain that prevents you from being able to stand, sit or lay in a position like you used to.

Symptoms of serious low back pain can include:

  • Fever, chills, sweats
  • problems with bowel or bladder (loss of control)
  • not able to move a leg or numbness
  • Flank pain or pain in the side of your back (high by your ribs)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • recent unplanned weight loss
  • passing out

What is lower back pain?

Lower back pain can be acute or chronic and it can range from an occasional nuisance to an incapacitating. Some people  are affected in ways that affect their daily life significantly. Regardless of whether the pain is mildly symptomatic or severe in nature, the vast majority of back pain complaints can be treated without surgery.

What can I do for my lower back pain?

  • Heat pad or ice 20-40 mins 4-5 times a day
  • Ibuprofen 400-600mg three or four times a day until improvement in symptoms
  • Acetaminophen 650mg every 6 hours as needed
  • Lidocaine patch (OTC or Rx)
  • OTC Muscle Rubs: Camphor, methyl salicylate, menthol, capsaicin
  • OTC Stool softener – you  may need this so you don’t have to strain
  • Consider yoga, physical therapy, spinal manipulation

When to Seek Medical Care

Seeking care now can help improve your function. Exercises, stretching and medications can relieve most episodes of acute lower back pain. The majority of patients can be treated conservatively, and only on rare occasion is surgery necessary. With physical therapy, diet, and exercise, more often than not back pain can be alleviated on a permanent basis. Though not a quick fix, with good compliance over a period of months, these modalities have a proven track record of effectiveness in treating this disabling condition. I hope this won’t happen but if you develop weakness or numbness in your legs or groin, difficulty controlling your bowel or bladder, or other severe symptoms, please go to an urgent care or the ER for an evaluation.



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