Back Pain, Adult

Back pain is very common. The pain often gets better over time. The cause of back pain is usually not dangerous. Most people can learn to manage their back pain on their own.

HOME CARE

  • Stay active. Start with short walks on flat ground if you can. Try to walk farther each day.

  • Do not sit, drive, or stand in one place for more than 30 minutes. Do not stay in bed.

  • Do not avoid exercise or work. Activity can help your back heal faster.

  • Be careful when you bend or lift an object. Bend at your knees, keep the object close to you, and do not twist.

  • Sleep on a firm mattress. Lie on your side, and bend your knees. If you lie on your back, put a pillow under your knees.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.

  • Put ice on the injured area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day for the first 2 to 3 days. After that, you can switch between ice and heat packs.

  • Ask your doctor about back exercises or massage.

  • Avoid feeling anxious or stressed. Find good ways to deal with stress, such as exercise.

GET HELP RIGHT AWAY IF:

  • Your pain does not go away with rest or medicine.

  • Your pain does not go away in 1 week.

  • You have new problems.

  • You do not feel well.

  • The pain spreads into your legs.

  • You cannot control when you poop (bowel movement) or pee (urinate).

  • Your arms or legs feel weak or lose feeling (numbness).

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).

  • You have belly (abdominal) pain.

  • You feel like you may pass out (faint).

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.