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Relief from Back Pain...Without Opioids!

Relief from Back Pain...Without Opioids!

Relief from Back Pain...Without Opioids!

80% of people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives.1 So if you’re in pain, you’re not alone!

Learn how to relieve your back pain fast and prevent it in the future using these tools and exercises!

Learn more:

5 Back Pain Statistics You Should Know1,2

  • In the U.S. 25% of adults reported lower back pain in the past 3 months
  • Back pain is the most common reason for disability
  • It’s the 2nd most common reason adults see a doctor
  • Lower back pain is a common reason for an opioid prescription
  • Substance-abuse disorders have a 5% to 25% occurrence rate among patients taking opioids for chronic lower-back pain alone

Get the Facts About Opioids

Opioids are drugs that relieve pain, but they can also create a feeling of euphoria, a “high”, which is why they can be misused. Examples of opioids include hydrocodone (Vicodin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®), codeine, morphine, and heroin.3

  • In 2019, in the U.S. there were 50,042 overdose deaths involving opioids4
  • In 2018, more people in the U.S. died from opioid drug overdoses than from car crashes or gun violence 5
  • 21-29% of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them and 8-12% of patients develop an opioid use disorder6
  • 4-6% of patients who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin6
  • 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids6

opiod abuse statistics infographic

Image source: 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Amy Lei, Public Tableu

What the Pros Say

In an article for John Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Andrew Nave, M.D. recommends that “Opioid medications generally shouldn’t be used as the first, the only, or the long-term line of treatment for chronic back pain".

Pain is a big factor,” said Dr. Kevin Wilk PT DPT, FAPTA in an article for Performance Health Academy. “Many times when we see patients after injury or after surgery, they have poor strategies at managing pain. Physicians often prescribe medications, and unfortunately, those medications lead to addiction problems. We as health care providers have to provide strategies such as modalities, exercise and other treatment regimens to provide alternatives.

So, what are your other options? Keep reading to find out!

2 Types of Back Pain

Back pain is divided into 2 types of pain.7

  • Acute: Pain that lasts a few days to a few weeks
    • The most common type of back pain
    • Tends to resolve itself within a few days with selfcare
  • Chronic: Pain that lasts 12 weeks or more
    • About 20% of people with acute back pain develop chronic back pain
    • Even after the underlying injury or cause is treated, the pain may persist

Common Causes of Back Pain

There are many conditions that may be causing your back pain. Talk to your doctor or a medical professional for a diagnosis. Common causes of lower back pain include: 7

  • Skeletal irregularities (scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis, etc.)
  • Spina bifida
  • Sprains, strains, and spasms
  • Injury (such as car accident, fall, or sports injury)
  • Disc degeneration
  • Arthritis
  • Spondylosis
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated disc
  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney stone
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pregnancy
  • Endometriosis
  • Spinal nerve compression, inflammation, or injury

What risk factors increase your chances of having lower back pain?

A variety of factors may increase your likelihood of having back pain including: 7

  • Age: The first back pain episode usually occurs between 30-50 years old and back pain becomes more common with increasing age
  • Fitness level: Back pain is more common in those with lower fitness levels and “weekend warriors” who exercise a lot after being inactive all week
  • Job-related factors: Heavy pushing, pulling, or lifting (especially when it twists or vibrates the spine) or working at a desk all day can contribute to back pain
  • Genetics: Some causes of back pain have a genetic component
  • Weight gain: Being overweight or quickly gaining weight can put stress on the back and lead to back pain
  • Smoking: Can cause spinal discs to degenerate faster, leading to pain
  • Mental health: Anxiety and depression can affect your perception of pain, stress can cause muscle tension
  • Psychological factors: Mood, depression, stress, and other psychological factors can affect the likelihood of back pain
  • Backpack overload: Heavy backpacks overloaded with books and school supplies can strain the lower back

When to See a Doctor

Most back pain goes away on its own after 4-6 weeks of home care. But if you have any of these additional symptoms or causes, you should see a doctor:9

  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs
  • Follows an injury, fall, or blow to your back
  • Pain that spreads down one or both legs
  • Intense or constant pain, especially at night or when lying down
  • Pain that occurs with unintended weight loss
  • Pain that occurs with redness or swelling on your back
  • Pain that occurs with new bladder or bowel control problems

5 Fast Back Pain Relief Solutions

If you’re looking for fast, temporary pain relief, products like heat wraps and ice packs can help. When used with physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other solutions that help relieve your underlying condition, these products can help relieve your back pain!

1. TheraPearl Hot and Cold Packs

TheraPearl Hot and Cold Packs

  • Heat is often the best option for chronic pain and this reusable pack allows you to microwave it and enjoy heat therapy multiple times. The pack can also be used for cryotherapy if cold relieves your pain better. A strap keeps it in place during use

pain relief heat vs ice

2. ThermaCare Heat Wraps

ThermaCare Heat Wraps

  • For on-the-go relief, try these air-activated wraps that can be worn under your clothing. The adhesive keeps the wrap in place for hours at a time

3. Sammons Preston Moist Heating Pad

Sammons Preston Moist Heating Pad

  • Moist heat allows you to apply higher levels of heat while keeping your skin comfortable. This digital heat pad requires no water, since it pulls moisture from the air

4. Biofreeze

Biofreeze

  • For fast pain relief, you need Biofreeze. This cooling pain reliever significantly reduced lower back pain when combined with chiropractic care compared to chiropractic care alone8

5. AccuRelief Dual Channel TENS

AccuRelief

  • This TENS device offers pain relief without a prescription. The easy-to-use device offers targeted pain relief using electrode pads and a TENS unit. Choose one of the preset programs to quickly get started

10 Exercises & Tools to Relieve Back Pain

These stretches and exercises can help relieve your current pain and strengthen your back to prevent pain in the future. Plus, check out products that can help relieve your pain while working, sleeping, and more!

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. If any of these exercises are painful, stop doing them.

1. TheraBand Foam Roller: Relieve tight muscles using a foam roller

Pro Foam Roller with Wrap Back Release

TheraBand Foam Roller in use on lower back

  • Sit on the floor in front of your TheraBand Pro Foam Roller
  • Slowly lean back to rest the middle of your back on the roller, using your hands and forearms to stabilize your movement
  • Push with your heels to roll your body back and forth over the roller
  • Straighten your knees to move the roller across your lower back
  • Note: Make sure you are not rolling over the spine but to either side targeting the supportive muscles

2. TheraBand Roller Massager+: This massager makes it easy to target specific pain spots

Roller Massager+ Neutral Low Back Release

Roller Massager+ Neutral Low Back Release

  • Sit on a stability ball or chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground
  • Hold a TheraBand Roller Massager+ on your lower back
  • Roll the massager up and down the lower back muscles, applying as much pressure as is comfortable

3. TheraBand Rocker Board: Strengthen your lower back with this exercise and use the board to improve your balance

TheraBand Rocker Board Weight Shift

Roller Massager+ Neutral Low Back Release

  • Stand with both of your feet on a TheraBand Rocker Board
  • Keep your knees straight and lean to one side
    • Don’t twist your hips or knees while leaning

4. TheraBand Resistance Bands: Resistance bands are a versatile tool for strengthening the back, trunk, and more

Thera-Band Trunk Sidebend-Overhead

Thera-Band Trunk Sidebend-Overhead

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart on the resistance band
  • Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand and keep a slight bend in your knees
  • Raise one arm straight up and lean away from that side
    • To modify the overhead reach, keep one arm bent at 90 degrees, elbow tucked to the body and hand at chest height holding the band. Bend to the opposite side

5. TheraBand PRO Series SCP Exercise Ball: Perfect for a variety of back stretches and balance exercises

Prone Flexion Stretch

Prone Flexion Stretch

  • Lay on top of the exercise ball face down with the ball under your hips
  • Use your hands and feet to balance
  • Allow the weight of your arms and legs to slowly stretch out your back

6. TheraBand Mini Ball: This small ball is great for Pilates, yoga, and more

TheraBand Mini Ball Pelvic Clock

TheraBand Mini Ball Pelvic Clock

  • Lay on the floor and place a TheraBand Mini Ball just below your lower back
  • Rotate your hips in a clockwise rotation, pressing them around the rim of the exercise ball
  • Repeat multiple times and then rotate in a counterclockwise rotation

7. Rolyan Low Profile Back Cushion: This cushion provides lower back support to reduce pain and encourage good posture

Rolyan Low Profile Back Cushion

8. Ball Chair: Exercise your core muscles and enjoy the benefits of active sitting by using this ball chair

ball chair

Remember that your hips, knees, and elbows should all be at 90° when seated

9. Cervical Support Pillow: The most recommended position for back pain relief is sleeping on your back. Place a pillow under your knees and use this pillow for head and neck support

Cervical Support Pillow

10. RolyanFit Mesh Back Support: Get the back support and compression you need with this adjustable support

RolyanFit Mesh Back Support

Back Pain Prevention Tips

Looking to avoid back pain in the future? Check out these tips to keep your back healthy & strong!7

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat nutritious meals and maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Use ergonomically-designed furniture at home and at work
  • Take breaks to get up and walk around between long periods of sitting
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Don’t lift objects that are too heavy, lift from the knees, and don’t twist your back while lifting

More Back Pain Resources


References

  1. Kenny, K. (March 2020). Opioids: Not the Best Option for Lower Back Pain. Pharmacy Times. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3algHSi
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (May 2020). Acute Low Back Pain. CDC. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2Wk9BVQ
  3. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Opioids. NIH. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3ai0T2T
  4. American Hospital Association. (July 2020). CDC: Drug overdose deaths up 4.6% in 2019. American Hospital Association. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3r2JsJk
  5. Injury Facts. (2019). Preventable Deaths: Odds of Dying. Injury Facts. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2KAF7fF
  6. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Opioid Overdose Crisis. NIH. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3oYvdDM
  7. National Institutes of Health. (April 2020). Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. NIH. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3oZg9FI
  8. Zhang, J., Enix, D.E., Snyder, B., Giggey, K., & Tepe, R. (2008). Effects of Biofreeze and chiropractic adjustments on acute low back pain: a pilot study. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 7, 59–65. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcme.2008.02.004 https://bit.ly/3g7SMpq
  9. Schiefer, T.K. (August 2020). When should I see a doctor about back pain?. Mayo Clinic Health System. Retrieved from https://mayocl.in/34jVxQE

Medical Disclaimer: The information provided on this site, including text, graphics, images and other material, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.