Different types of back pains have different types of causes, and to gain some relief, the cause rather than the symptom should be addressed. People suffering from back pain are often suggested by friends and relatives to have complete bed rest, which is a misconception. Mere bed rest would not be sufficient to alleviate back pain if there were a serious underlying cause, like bone degeneration, osteoarthritis, or a bone infection. On the other hand, there is nothing as good as having rest for some initial period (though not necessarily bed rest), if the pain has resulted on account of a stress or a strain.
In a case of back pain without a pathology, avoiding physical activity for some time helps relax the nerves and reduce swelling, if any, in the painful area. This can be eased further by using non-drug methods of pain relief like applying hot and cold compresses to the affected area. Cold compresses are recommended for use during the first two to three days, later followed by hot compresses. This technique relaxes the nerves that have become irritated, and allows for restful sleep. Since pains are normally associated with sleeplessness, during phases of sound sleep the body gets time to heal itself.
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Another way of traditional pain relief, and probably the most widespread, is the use of painkillers. Almost everyone has his or her favorites among painkillers, and you can use yours. But if the pain persists, and there is no remarkable benefit from the painkillers, it is advisable to consult a doctor and seek advice. However, if the pain has been relieved, normal daily activity should be resumed gradually after two to three weeks.
However bad back pain might be, it needs good, judicious management. In case the pain is not the result of a serious underlying problem, self-help techniques mentioned above, timely use of painkillers, and plain commonsense can go a long way in providing quick relief. Despite these interventions, however, if the acuteness of the problem gives way to a chronic, unmanageable situation, expert medical help should be immediately sought.