Approximately 65 million Americans have reported experiencing back pain while 16 million suffer from chronic back pain. If you’ve suffered a back injury, you may feel helpless to find a treatment plan that works.

In this article, we offer 4 tips that can help you recover from back injuries. Whether you’ve suffered a back injury from a car accident or a recent fall, our spine surgeons can help get you on the right path to healing.

1. Reduce Pressure

One of the best things you can do to relieve discomfort after a back injury is to reduce pressure. Pressure can be caused by inflammation, disc herniation, a pulled muscle, and more.

While not all back pain is caused by pressure and inflammation, it’s often accompanied by these symptoms. Relieving pressure and inflammation may not resolve your back pain, but it can offer some back pain relief.

Over-the-Counter Medication

The first thing you should do after a back injury is to consider over-the-counter (OTC) medication. An anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be used temporarily to relieve pressure.

However, discuss any OTC medications with your spine doctor at the Advanced Spine Center. This is especially important if you find you need to take it long term. OTC anti-inflammatories can lead to other health problems in the long term.

Take Time to Rest

After an initial injury, it’s important to take time to rest and start the healing process. Take a few days to allow the initial swelling to resolve, which will help calm some of your symptoms.

We recommend avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous activity, including excessive exercise. These types of activities can worsen your pain, especially if you do too much too soon.

Cold and Hot Compresses

Another way to reduce inflammation is through the use of cold and hot compresses. It’s important to use cold and heat strategically to promote healing. These shouldn’t be used in over 10 to 20-minute intervals.

After an initial injury or strenuous activity, use a cold compress to minimize tissue damage and inflammation. A warm compress can be used after 24 hours to promote healing and relax stiff muscles.

Support Yourself

Getting comfortable is difficult for those suffering from back injuries, but using the right support can make it easier. Try using a pillow between your legs while sleeping at night to align your spine and relieve pressure.

You can also use a pillow while sitting in the car or at your desk. Place the pillow behind your back to cushion your spine and provide better alignment.

2. Change Your Lifestyle

Whether you’ve suffered a back injury from a car accident or from lifting a heavy object, you’ll likely need to change your lifestyle to heal. Your spine doctor can help you determine which changes are most appropriate.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is important regardless of whether you suffer from back injuries, but it’s even more important if you do. Certain foods can cause inflammation, including processed foods, which should be avoided.

Some patients with a back injury may become prone to back pain in the long term. These types of patients may find relief from an anti-inflammatory diet, such as those that include flax seeds, spinach, turmeric, and more.

Increase Mobility

After an initial resting period of a few days, it’s important to escalate your mobility. Inactivity can lead to weakened core muscles, stiffness, and increased pain.

Start by regaining your flexibility and slowly building up your exercise endurance. At the Spine Center, your spine surgeon can help you create a plan to get you back on your feet.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

The combination of eating healthy foods and staying active contributes to overall good health. These factors also contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.

Patients with excess weight often find their back pain lessened with weight loss. If you’re overweight, weight loss is an important step in regaining your mobility.

3. Find the Right Treatment Plan

Each patient’s back injuries are unique and can’t be treated the same way. Therefore, it’s essential to find the right treatment plan based on your injury, your lifestyle, and your goals for recovery.

The healing process is constantly changing, so your treatment plan may change up as well. Your spine doctor can help you find a plan that works for you and help set you up for a successful recovery.

Physical Therapy

Regardless of whether you need a spine surgeon, physical therapy is a common treatment after a back injury. This is an important part of the healing process because it helps rebuild your mobility.

Physical therapy promotes strength, balance, and flexibility, which are all needed to reduce back pain. It’s also ideal for learning about your injury and the best steps to take to get to recovery.

Surgical Repair

If you’re visiting a spine surgeon at the Advanced Spine Center, it likely means you’re considering surgical repair for your back injury. This can be the best option for patients who haven’t found success with other treatments.

Your spine doctor will discuss the best surgical repair options based on your type of back injury, back pain, and your health. They’ll also discuss the pros and cons of the procedure compared to other treatments.

4. Listen to Your Body

One of the most important aspects of recovering from a back injury is to listen to your body. For example, if your back pain is worse after sitting for long periods, try standing more often or going for a walk periodically.

Ignoring your body’s signals can not only limit your ability to heal, but it can make your condition worse.

Take Recovery Slowly

Back injuries prevent patients from doing what they want or need to do, so the rush to return to a normal level of activity is common. However, doing too much too soon can make back pain worse and won’t make healing faster.

Strategic Healing After a Back Injury

The key to healing after a back injury is to be strategic. Listen to what your body is telling you to find a recovery plan that fits your needs. Working with the right professionals will make the process easier.

Contact us today to talk to one of our specialists at the Advanced Spine Center and get started on your road to recovery.