Treating back pain in a Patient
Treating back pain is one of the most difficult treatments as there are numerous reasons why a person may seek help for a sore back, but as a first aid provider it is your job to assess the situation, and offer proper treatment options. Firstly if a person has had a serious fall or collision, phone the emergency services and do not move them as you may make the injury worse. (NDFA can provide first responder training, get in contact with our team)
However in less serious situations, directly after a sore back becomes apparent, it is a good idea to apply an ice pack to the area that hurts and tell the person to avoid any exercise, soft mattresses, and too much activity in general. You can also recommend that the individual tries over the counter painkillers to help ease the pain. If the sore back is caused by an acute source this may be enough.
Longer Term Pain
However, if you come across an individual who complains of a sore back for an extended amount of time, then it will be useful to look more deeply into the situation. First of all, a doctor will ask if the pain came following a specific incident, or if it has slowly increased over the last few weeks or months. In many cases, people simply “deal with” lower back pain for a while, before they finally head to a doctor to ask for a professional opinion. A sore back can be caused by many things, such as poor posture, over stretching, a workout injury, stress, or working in a stationary office job position. It can also be caused by accidents that happen suddenly.
Once the potential causes have been narrowed down with a person that complains of a sore back, there are several options that can be offered to them. A round of treatment with anti-inflammatory medication is a common option that will be prescribed by a doctor, for those with a sore back that presents suddenly. Treatment with a muscle relaxant along with the anti-inflammatory drugs sometimes will result in more positive results, as the back muscles simply need to relax and settle down to alleviate the sore back.
Other options may be needed if the sore back persists or has been present for more than just a few days. Massage with hot or cold packs, along with traction, may be a good step towards treating back pain. Sometimes a doctor will advise a patient to purchase a TENS unit. This unit uses small electrical charges to help relax the muscles and can provide relief while also treating back pain. If the pain continue to persists past these measures, or the person is also experiencing any numbness in the legs or toes, or is encountering issues with urination, then a doctor will often send them for a consultation with an orthopaedic specialist.