If you have back or neck problems, you’re far from alone. As a part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s largest health system, Overland Park Regional Medical Center provides world-class, individualized treatment for each and every patient.
Important: If you think someone may have a severe neck or back injury, do not attempt to move the person. Call 911 and keep the person still until medical help arrives.
Whether you have a pulled muscle, herniated disk or a complex deformity, our team of experts can help. Our spine care team includes a neurosurgeon, pain management doctors who specialize in non-surgical care; and highly trained physical therapists. Every aspect of your diagnostic and treatment plan is coordinated by our spine care team, so you get the care you need, when you need it.
7 Surprising Fixes for Back Pain
If you’re struggling with back pain, it’s not surprising—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that 80% of us will have back pain issues at some point in our lives. But before you turn to narcotics, muscle relaxants, or other therapies, check out our list of 7 Surprising Fixes that may cure your back pain.
Many people come through the ER with sudden, severe back pain after lifting something heavy—especially if they follow that lift with a twist. This strenuous motion can damage the vertebral discs—those little cushions between the bones in your spine. So when lifting, don’t lift and twist —lift and TURN (including turning your feet and legs).
We used to think that mild back injuries and strains should be followed by rest, but research has shown that continuing activity, even gentle things like walking and moving around, will facilitate healing. At first, stick to walking and avoid strenuous back exercises or stretching. Then, once you start to improve, not only will back strengthening exercises help you heal faster, they’ll also increase your strength to reduce your chances of a future injury.
If you sleep on your stomach or with a couple of pillows propped underneath your neck, your sleep position could be contributing to your pain. The best sleep positions for the back are either (a) lying on your back with a pillow behind your knees, with head and shoulders slightly elevated or (b) on your side, with your upper knee bent and a pillow between your knees.
If your job ever requires you to be in one place for long periods, try this technique: place a block of wood or a yoga block (about 4-6 inches in height) at your feet—and place one foot on the block. Periodically alternate feet to reduce the static strain on your spine. Use this same technique anytime you’re standing for long periods if, for example, there’s a step you can put one foot on.
Sitting in the office all day? Staying glued to your seat for hours at a time decreases blood flow to your vertebral discs and puts a great deal of pressure on your spine. Two tricks: first, get up and walk around for a few minutes every one to two hours (your brain will also thank you for the break!). Second, try to readjust your chair when you sit back down -- even if it’s just a little. Avoid sitting in the exact same position all day to minimize muscle stiffness.
We know—it’s just another thing to bring along. But if you’re perpetually carrying your toddler, you may not be aware of how much extra stress you’re putting on your back—especially if your child squirms and fights to get down. There’s no one “optimal” position for carrying the extra weight of a child, so if you find yourself in this position, keep the stroller handy (just don’t lift and twist when getting it out of the trunk!). Extra benefit—set the stroller basket under the child’s seat to place your purse and other hefty bags, further relieving tension on your spine.
Ok, you know that smoking was bad for your lungs and heart—but your back too? Yep. Smoking can cause those little vertebral discs to breakdown even faster, leaving you with unremitting back pain.
Most back pain will resolve on its own in three to six weeks (and sooner, for most people). If you’re still in pain, or your back pain is so severe that it is keeping you from your regular activities, then it is time to seek the help of your doctor.
Information courtesy of Sharecare, Inc.