Why A Back Injury Doesn’t Get Better With Painkillers
If we’re talking about a lower back injury, the main parts of that area of the spine you will likely injure will be the discs, the facet joints or any other ligaments and smaller muscular structures that support and protect the lumbar spine. In reality, you’re more than likely to injure multiple areas at any one time. This area of the body works together in such an interrelated manner, so this is why you may be more likely to damage multiple areas. If you compare this type of an injury, to an ankle sprain, you would probably go to your GP and if they were to say to just take some strong painkillers and walk it off, you’d probably be a bit confused.
The Purpose Of Pain In The Body
Pain has a purpose. It is there to warn you that something isn’t quite right. You’re in pain because you’ve injured your lower back, and using painkillers to numb this sensation of pain so that you can carry on causing more damage, is not such a sensible move. Generally speaking, if you bend forwards for example and your back gives you a lot of pain for doing that, the pain is telling you to not do that because you’re squashing the disc more, because bending forwards is a problem for people with disc injuries. If the problem is in your facet joints, aching backwards might be a problem for you instead. Now, this pain doesn’t need to be severe for you to understand what’s going on inside your body, so we’re certainly not saying that you should go without them if they are helpful for you. It’s important to be more conscious about why you’re taking the painkillers. A lot of patients are looking for a solution, rather than just to numb the pain.
If your pain is stopping you from sleeping, then it makes sense to perhaps take some in the evening before sleeping so that you’re able to rest.Sleeping is very important as it is when the body heals and recovers itself, so if you’re taking painkillers before bed then this is beneficial if the pain can stop you sleeping. If however, you are taking painkillers so that you can go on the treadmill for an extra 15 minutes at the end of your workout, then this is not the smartest move. Now, in fairness you’re not able to isolate your lower back in the same way you could isolate your ankle with a crutch, but you need to pay attention to your pain levels and understand there is something fundamentally wrong.
When Should You Take Painkillers?
A lot of our patients understand when is a smart time to take painkillers, and why they should perhaps avoid it. But if you do have pain that has been ongoing for longer than a week or two, and you’re taking either ibuprofen, paracetamol or other stronger pain medications, do ask yourself whether this is helping you with the problem, or are you taking it to mask the pain in order to perform tasks that might be causing further damage. It sounds obvious to say, but just because the pain isn’t there after you’ve taken painkillers, it doesn’t mean the problem no longer exists. If the pain isn’t resolving on its own after a couple of weeks, then going to see someone who can help you and give you the treatment you need will be very helpful. On our website, you will be able to find videos and further articles to give you some clearer guidance on what you can do at home with your back to stop the pain from getting worse.
The muscle is most likely becoming tight as a result of prolonged episodes of bad posture, such as a long day at the office, so the only way to fix it is to correct the posture. If the problem is in its early stages, then becoming aware of your posture on a regular basis can help you to keep in check with your body’s position. Reminding yourself periodically during the day can help you to correct your posture until it becomes natural instinct. Unfortunately at first this can be uncomfortable as the muscles have weakened over time due to not being used to hold an upright, correct posture. Over time maintaining good posture will strengthen the muscles and it will become more comfortable, it’s just a case of powering through the initial difficult phase.
The solution if the back pain is chronic
When it comes down to more chronic back pain, you’ll find that the levels of pain are disproportionate to the levels of tissue damage. This is when the symptom picture can be problematic for you as the patient. There is a wave of practitioners now touting that ‘pain is in the brain’ as some sort of consolation. Unfortunately this is backed up by research in part, the signals in your nervous system are inappropriately classifying the chronic stimulation. This however is not an excuse to not treat the injured area as it is likely that there is some degree of tissue damage there still.
With these more chronic cases, there is a need to have a more robust approach, and help the patient get off painkillers and return to normal activity. We find that frequently patients with more complicated back pain causes have not had the correct level of detailed analysis employed during their previous diagnostic processes. They also have not had treatments that are effective enough to deal with the issue, sometimes having had nothing more than massage and exercise for a condition that has been going on for years.
Fortunately, those that can make it to see us at The Mayfair Clinic will get much better treatment. We take pride in our unrivalled approach to treating back pain without surgery and provide what we believe is the most robust approach to helping patients with chronic back pain return to normality.
0203 947 32 22
4 Cavendish Square, London, W1g 0PG.