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Written by David Jones on April 18, 2017
Back injuries and pain are a very common issue among Americans in every demographic and, in fact, back injuries are among the most common chronic issues. If you’ve been in an accident and injured your back, then, it’s especially vital that you address the problem promptly to avoid ongoing problems.
There are many effective treatments for back pain – so don’t take to your bed. Bed rest can actually make the injury worse. Instead, try one of these approaches to coping with the injury for the best chance of a full recovery.
Get It Checked
The first thing you should do after a back injury is to pay a visit to your doctor. This is especially vital if you’ve been in a car accident and may be facing a lawsuit. Your doctor can determine how severe the injury is, whether you can keep working, and what treatments are appropriate.
Beware if your doctor offers opioids for your back pain. Historically, this has been a common short-term treatment, but new research suggests that opioid treatment for back pain can lead to dependency and is one of the factors fueling the current drug epidemic. If your doctor offers opioids, ask about muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory medications instead.
Consider The Chiropractor
If you’ve been in an accident, you may be suffering a lot of back pain but may not have a corresponding injury. This often happens because something in your spinal column becomes misaligned, resulting in bad posture or a pinched nerve. A chiropractor can help by performing spinal manipulations or other adjustments to release muscle spasms and relax the back.
You chiropractor can also suggest ongoing care recommendations that will help you prevent reinjuring your back or suffering ongoing pain. Typically, you’ll only need a few sessions with a chiropractor to repair the damage done by an accident.
The Osteopathic Alternative
Similar to a chiropractor but with additional medical expertise, doctors of osteopathy (DOs) can also help treat back injuries. Osteopaths are especially good at spotting subtle movement restrictions, loosening muscles and ligaments, and correcting overall alignment. DOs are all about function and their musculoskeletal expertise can help get you back to your normal activities swiftly.
Change How You Sleep
No one wants to be told that the way they sleep is contributing to their back pain, but it may be true, especially if you’ve suffered a recent injury. Instead of climbing into bed and dropping down on your side or stomach, the most common sleeping positions, try sleeping on your back with your knees propped up on a pillow or a chair. This can improve your back alignment while you sleep and help you get better rest and heal more effectively. If you have to sleep on your side, you can also place a pillow between your knees.
Back pain is pervasive and can change your life by limiting your activity and even impacting your ability to work if it isn’t treated properly. Don’t let injuries get in the way of what you love. See your doctor immediately for a full evaluation and next steps. Keep moving, too. The more you move – gentle but consistent movements, including light aerobics – the better you’ll feel in the long run.