When your back hurts, it’s hard to think about anything else. You’re uncomfortable, can’t move easily, and it’s hard to do your best work as a dentist. Leaning over patients becomes even more uncomfortable.
Back pain can be caused by a variety of things, but the good news is that there are also a lot of ways to get back pain relief. If you’re wondering what to do about back pain, you’ll want to save this article!
Below are nine ways you can start managing back pain today. You don’t have to tolerate that discomfort. Take action instead!
Gentle Exercise & Stretching
Despite the pain, you actually don’t want to rest and do nothing with your back. If you do, the muscles could become tighter, leading to even more discomfort.
If you move gently and stretch, you may be able to find immediate back pain relief. Back stretches are simple and shouldn’t cause additional pain or injury. Simple movement and strengthening can also help prevent future injury.
Bring Down Your Weight
If you’re overweight, you’re automatically putting more stress on your back than a person with a healthy weight. This can cause injury, pain, and make it very difficult to continue with your dental practice.
Although this is a long-term solution, managing your weight is an important part of managing back pain. The more stress and strain you can relieve on your body, the better!
Focus on Calm
Speaking of stress, reducing the amount of mental and emotional stress you’re under can also make a huge difference in managing back pain.
Whenever you’re under stress, your muscles tense. It’s part of our normal fight-or-flight response – your body isn’t doing anything wrong. However, if you’re under stress for a long period of time, you can start to experience back pain.
Focusing on reducing that tension can make a big difference. Consider meditation, getting a massage, or practicing yoga or another centering exercise.
See a Chiropractor
As a medical professional, you can certainly appreciate the advice to see another professional to take care of your back pain. Chiropractors are experts at treating the back and neck.
A good chiropractor knows what types of back problems need a doctor’s treatment and what things are best resolved in the chiropractor’s office. If you’re curious about the benefits of seeing a chiropractor, read more here!
Over the Counter Painkillers
For acute pain, or to manage back pain until you can see a professional, consider taking common pain medicine. The best pain reliever for back pain is generally an anti-inflammatory NSAID like ibuprofen or Aleve. These can really help in the short term.
Of course, don’t take a lot of NSAIDs for a long period of time. Side effects include liver and stomach problems. You don’t want to get even sicker trying to get back pain relief!
Pain medication should be a temporary and occasional solution. If it becomes more than that, see a doctor right away.
Managing Back Pain With Topical Treatments
If you’ve injured yourself or have a specific area of your back that hurts, a topical treatment can be very helpful. Something like BenGay or Icy Hot can help relax muscles and distract your body from pain.
Topical treatments often use capsaicin, an ingredient in hot chili peppers. It’s highly effective, but you may need to use the cream or treatment for a few days or a couple weeks to notice the pain relief.
Use Heat and Cold
The power of cold to dull pain and heat to relax muscles is unquestionable. Take advantage of these properties when you’re trying to figure out what to do about back pain!
If you’ve injured your back, icing it may make all the difference. Ice can reduce inflammation, lower your pain level, and help your body recover.
If you’ve strained a muscle, you may want to go with heat. With a hot pad you can help your muscles relax and get back into the shape they were in before. Heat helps reduce knots and relieve pain.
Both of these treatments have few side effects, so give them a try!
Straighten Your Posture
As a dentist, you do a lot of bending to look at x-rays, computers, and patients. All of this leaning over puts stress on your back, shoulders, and core.
To help prevent pain and injury, keep your posture as straight as possible when you’re walking, sitting, and more. Of course, some leaning can’t be avoided. If you counter some leaning with excellent posture the rest of the time, you’ll protect your back.
Standing straight and tall will also have a positive impact on your confidence and on how others interact with you. You may find your career improving as well as your muscles!
See a Doctor
If you have severe back pain, or the steps you’ve tried aren’t working, go to a doctor. A medical professional can examine your back and talk to you about your daily habits and recent injuries.
This information will help the doctor determine if something more serious is underlying your back pain. You may have bulging discs in your spine, or another disease or medical issue.
It’s especially important to see a doctor if back pain is severe, spreads down your legs, or causes weakness, numbness, or tingling.
It’s vital to take care of medical issues as soon as you notice them. You want to continue your practice as long as possible!
Keep Your Practice Going Strong
Managing back pain is only one part of keeping a thriving, healthy practice. You want to take care of yourself, that’s for sure. You also need to think about other ways to build your business!
Whether you are looking for advice about dental marketing, want to learn from other famous dentists, or need funding for your practice, our blog is the place to look. We’re here to serve you!