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First Aid for Back Pain

Last updated March 5, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Back Pain is a feeling of discomfort and pain, which can be sudden or chronic, and most commonly felt in the lower back region.

What is Back Pain?

  • Back Pain is a feeling of discomfort and pain, which can be sudden or chronic, and most commonly felt in the lower back region. It may be dull or sharp, and localized to a small area
  • This common condition may be caused by a variety of factors including muscle strain (due to carrying heavy objects or sitting for long hours), bone and muscle disorders, pregnancy, etc. 

What are the Causes of Back Pain?

Factors that cause Back Pain could include:

  • Muscle sprain/strain is the most common cause
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vertebral disc disease, like herniated or bulging discs
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer
  • Vertebral fracture
  • Shingles
  • Inflammatory arthritis

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Back Pain?

The signs and symptoms of Back Pain may include:

  • Sharp or dull aching pain
  • The onset may be sudden
  • Muscle soreness and stiffness
  • Trouble standing up
  • Restricted movements at the waist
  • Discomfort bending forward and down
  • Pain in shoulder, hips, and legs

How is First Aid administered for Back Pain?

First Aid tips for Back Pain include:

  • Take over the counter pain medication, such as tylenol, ibuprofen, or Aleve
  • Reposition yourself in a position that relieves discomfort
  • Apply ice-pack, alternating with heating pads
  • Sleep on a firm or hard surface
  • Avoid any activity that could cause stress on the back and worsen the pain
  • Stretching exercises
  • Massage and physical therapy; by a trained professional

Seek medical attention if any warning signs, like the following are noted:

  • Pain is accompanied by bowel or bladder disturbances
  • Back Pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in the legs
  • Pain is brought on by an injury, a motor vehicle accident, or a fall
  • Acute, worsening pain
  • When home remedies and therapy fail
  • If Back Pain is associated with abdominal pain, fever/chills, nausea/vomiting, or urinary symptoms
  • If you are pregnant
  • It is associated with a rash or any localized signs of infection, like an abscess

Who should administer First Aid for Back Pain?

The individual experiencing the Back Pain or someone near the affected person may administer First Aid.

What is the Prognosis of Back Pain?

The prognosis is dependent on the underlying cause of Back Pain, prompt medical attention, and the effectiveness of treatment.

How can Back Pain be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Back Pain:

  • Exercise caution while lifting or carrying heavy objects
  • Low-impact exercising
  • Warming-up and stretching oneself, before lifting any weights
  • Strengthening of back muscles
  • Follow-up with your primary healthcare provider to get appropriate lab checks,for vitamin D levels and bone density studies
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Take shingles vaccine, as recommended

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

Recognize the warning signs and seeking immediate medical help.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 20, 2014
Last updated: March 5, 2018