Sure, I can give you some meds to dampen the pain
But the best doctors will talk to you about the cause of your pain, whether it’s your lack of activity, your stress level, a condition like arthritis, your mattress, or one of these surprising back pain causes.
Heat or ice?
Use an ice pack for acute injuries, to minimize blood flow and reduce swelling and pain. Use heat to loosen muscles and stiff joints and help you feel more mobile. Here's a guide to which injuries you should treat with heat, or ice.
Any doctor can hang a shingle that says 'I treat pain'
Look for doctors who are board-certified in pain medicine or who did a fellowship in something pain-related. By the way, here's how you can tell the difference between an M.D. and D.O.
Your back and neck (and often shoulder) pain likely have little or nothing to do with your abnormal MRI
Studies show that if you perform an MRI on any 100 people, you’ll find an abnormality in about 90 percent of them, even if they’re not experiencing any pain. Find out how to tell if your back pain comes from sciatica symptoms.
Reconsider before asking for a prescription
The latest research shows that taking opioid pain meds (like Vicodin and OxyContin) for chronic pain can change the brain, damaging its ability to feel pleasure and leading to a craving for more drugs. A few studies found that long-term use can actually lead to increased back or neck pain. This is what doctors should be telling you about pain meds.
In mild pain? Play word games or another favorite challenging puzzle
When you distract your brain, you don’t hurt as much. Another activity that helps: watching a funny TV show. Or click through these RD.com jokes.
Before you praise me for curing your back pain, remember this
It may have gone away on its own. Approximately 90 percent of low-back pain subsides within 12 weeks without medical intervention.
If you have chronic pain, consider experimenting with dietary changes
istock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
Eliminate dairy for a few weeks, then reintroduce it and see how you feel. Do the same with wheat, red meat, shellfish, citrus, peanuts, caffeine, and alcohol, one at a time. If your pain gets worse when you add back a food, it may be contributing to your problem. Here are some natural ways of relieving chronic pain.
If I specialize in prescribing narcotics, giving injections, or doing surgery, that’s probably what I’m going to recommend
But there are dozens of other effective options like massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, spinal cord stimulators, and behavioral therapy. Here's what your massage therapist can tell about your body.
Think twice about having surgery, especially on your back or spine
I’m in a practice with only three doctors, and between us, we have over 1,000 patients who had back surgery who wish they never had. In a Consumer Reports survey, just 60 percent of those who had back surgery were completely or very satisfied with the results. Be sure to read up on these secrets surgeons won't tell you.