Dr. Dugan describes what women can do to ease back pain.
I think that we’re all going to have back pain, so what we should probably do is manage it at home at first. You should probably use ice for the first 24 or maybe 48 hours. You can apply ice locally. That will reduce the inflammation; it will reduce the pain, that’s an anesthetic. You can take some over-the-counter medication. So an anti-inflammatory medication unless you have a reason that you are not allowed, like you have an ulcer, or Tylenol which is a painkiller, an analgesic. You should probably take it easy, but don’t get into bed.
There was an interesting study that looked at people that stayed in bed for a week versus people that took it easy for three days, and staying in bed for a week caused other problems with constipation and reduced breathing. So we definitely recommend that you take it easy but that you’re up and around. So maybe you don’t go to work for a couple of days or maybe you have someone else help you with the children for a couple of days, but you get in and out of bed, you go to the bathroom, you come to the table.
Some people would feel uncomfortable in sitting for a long time, so I always tell patients to go to the position that they feel more comfortable in. So if you have the kind of back pain that makes you hurt when you stand up straight or extend your back, well, spend more time sitting. If you had the kind of back pain that causes you to have troubles when you’re sitting, then stand up and spend more time maybe laying down or laying on your belly, things like that.
About Dr. Dugan, M.D.:
Dr. Sheila A. Dugan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She is a faculty member of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is co-medical director of the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.
Dr. Dugan is multi board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine and pain medicine. She is highly skilled in neurological and sports-related rehabilitation. Prior to medical school, she received her physical therapy degree from Northwestern University in 1986. She's currently pursuing development of a program focused on women's musculoskeletal care, including both their medical and rehabilitation needs.