Many people suffer from a painful back injury at some point during their lifetime. Under most circumstances, the injury merely requires time to heal. Back injuries can vary in severity, and therefore your recovery time and recommendations may vary greatly. However, there are a variety of measures that healthcare providers recommend for dealing with the discomfort and making sure your back heals as quickly as possible.

Hot/Cold Therapy

Especially for the first 24 hours after the occurrence, applying ice for 20 minute increments helps reduce the inflammation and swelling that commonly accompanies an injury. On the second day, warm, moist heat encourages blood flow so that healing may begin. Heat also reduces the discomfort of muscle cramping and spasms. During the early phases of the healing process, some find it soothing to alternate between hot and cold. This may be painful or uncomfortable at first, but your skin and body will get used to the temperature changes and it will minimize pain and swelling.

OTC Medications

Acetaminophen reduces pain, but aspirin and ibuprofen also have the added benefits of reducing inflammation. Take the medications as directed on the label unless otherwise instructed by a physician. Keep in mind that taking these formulations continuously over an extended period of time increases the likelihood of experiencing side effects that include gastrointestinal upsets and prolonged bleeding times. Make sure that you talk to your doctor about any medicines that you are taking on a regular basis. If you are taking prescription medicines, check with your doctor before taking anything extra nd be sure to follow the directions from your doctor.


While sleep may be difficult for at least the first night after an injury, rest helps the body, particularly the affected muscles with relaxation. If preferring a side lying position, use a pillow along your back for support and another placed between the legs to reduce stress on the spine. If preferring a back lying position, try positioning a pillow under the knees to alleviate spinal pulling and stress. You can also try sleeping in a reclining chair or anything else that you find more comfortable. If you are having an especially hard time sleeping due to discomfort, your doctor may recommend a sleeping pill.

Massage Therapy

If all else fails, visit one of the Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centres of Ontario. Bowmanville massage therapy practitioners can properly assess the injury, offer soothing treatment and provide additional recommendations to promote healing. Often times, a therapist may suggest a variety of exercises that prevent stiffness and encourage healing. Make sure you only go to professionals because improper massage could lead to further injury or extended recovery. The proper massage and exercise however can strengthen you back and help with recovery.

Gentle Exercise

Gentle stretching helps muscles return to normal movement while enhancing circulation and reducing pain. Try a slow walk. Slowly stretch the hamstring muscles. If exercise seems to make matters worse, consult with a physician or therapist and return to physical activity according to recommendations. Gentle stretching and exercise usually help during healing to avoid stiffness when you are recovered. If you are participating in physical therapy, they will guide you through a series of exercises that will help you recover. This may be painful at first, but will help your body recover smoothly.

Ergonomic Furniture

If having to spend long periods of time sitting during a workday, the proper chair provides the necessary support that helps encourage correct posture while minimizing discomfort. Home furnishings should also offer comfort and support. Find a chair that feels most comfortable for you, whether that is reclining or extra lower back support. Pay attention to your posture when sitting as well. Excessive slouching or leaning to one side can affect the way your back heals.

Knowing what to do after enduring a back injury helps hasten the healing process. A back injury does not have to mean suffering for weeks or months on end without any hope of relief. Implement as many of these suggestions as possible and learn about injury prevention to ensure the fastest and most comfortable recovery. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best option for your recovery. Remember, every back injury is different and what works for one patient may not work for another. Your doctor can help you create a personalized recovery plan to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible!

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