|•||Why does your back hurt?|
|•||The anatomy of your back|
|•||Causes of back pain|
|•||Diagnosing back pain|
|•||Creating a treatment strategy|
|•||... and more!|
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Healing your back
There are many options to help you relieve back pain and keep it from recurring. The right treatment for you depends on many factors — the cause of your pain, your goals for treatment, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences.
For most people, there is no rush to decide on a course of treatment for back pain. And often, given a little time, back problems get better with minimal medical intervention. But taking your time doesnâ€™t mean doing nothing. In fact, there is a lot you can do to ease your pain and speed your healing. Old fashioned heat and ice are often a good start. Simply applying moderate cold or heat to your back can reduce your discomfort.
Immediately following an injury, it is best to use cold compresses or an ice pack rather than heat. Cold can alleviate pain by numbing the area and prevent or reduce swelling caused by inflammation. About 48 hours after back pain starts, though, applying heat may be more helpful. The warmth soothes and relaxes aching muscles; it also increases blood flow, which can promote healing. Electric heating pads and hot water bottles are effective and usually easy to use.
For more on healing your aching back, buy Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.