Ask the Expert: How Can I Cope With Back Pain?

Dr. Geoffrey Skene, DO, Answers: Whether a dull ache or a sudden sharp stab, back pain has lots of causes. It usually heals on its own—likely you’ll feel better within a week. Here are tips to help manage back pain:

• Stop excess physical activity for a day or two. Total bed rest is not advised—you need to keep moving to stay flexible.

• Apply ice for 48 to 72 hours, then heat.

• Take pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.

• Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a pillow beneath your knees.

Call your doctor if back pain is severe, follows an injury or a fall or doesn’t
improve after three days. Seek emergency care for back pain accompanied by loss of bowel or bladder control, progressive weakness or lower-body numbness

Dr. Geoffry Skene, DO is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation