What can I do to help myself?
Back pain relief medication should be taken on a regular basis, that sounds simple but it is surprising how many people take two Paracetamol and expect them to work all day. It is recommended you take them either four or six hourly to achieve what is called a therapeutic level – this means that you remain comfortable and not suffering from a seesaw action of pain i.e. take pain relief – wait for pain relief to work – then wait for pain to come back! Having a therapeutic level means that as the pain relief is beginning to wear off you take your next pain relief which means that you will remain comfortable. This is why it is recommended you should time your dosages. Always make sure you know the maximum pain relief tablets you are able to take in a 24hr period and work out when you require it to work at its maximum to keep your comfortable.
You need to continue this pain managment for the first two to three and then you can begin to see how comfortable you are. You will need to make sure that which ever back pain relief medication you are using that you read the instructions carefully and do not exceed the stated dosage. You can seriously damage your liver by overdosing on “over the counter” medication like Paracetamol. If you are in doubt about any of your pain medication consult either your pharmacist or your own doctor. If the back pain relief medication is not effective you will need to consult your doctor for an alternative.
One point I would like to stress is that pain relief/ herbal pain relief should not be purchased over the internet from any company which is not reputable. These products can cause unwanted and sometimes harmful side effects.
If you are taking any other medication you should always consult with either your own Doctor or you can talk to the Pharmacist at the chemist regarding the compatibility of the pain relief medication you are taking.
If the medication you are taking is not offering you sufficient pain relief you will need to visit your Doctor to discuss which alternative medication you can take.
Please do not take any medication friends or family might offer you as combining drugs may cause your body damage; medicines which have been prescribed for one person may be entirely unsuitable for another.
When to see the Doctor for your back pain
If you do not feel a noticeable reduction in pain and inflammation after 72 hours of self-care you should consult your doctor.
You will need to consult your Doctor immediately if you have:-
*Suffered a fall from a height or hard impact
*Weakness in your legs
*Have pain which goes down past the knee
*Any loss of feeling or tingling in your foot or around your genitals or bottom
*Pain which isn’t controlled by pain relief which you can get at your local pharmacy/chemist
If you are suffering from chronic pain it may be a good idea to keep a pain journal. These can be really useful to both your and your doctor. If you keep an accurate record of when your pain occurs and when it seems to have improved you may find a pattern developing. You will need to note which pain relief tablets you are using, the time when you took it and the affect it had.
Pain score = you may be asked on a scale of 0 -10 where to place your pain on the scale when
0 = no pain and 10 = excruciating pain
|Pain occurred when / where:-||Pain score||Time||Pain relief taken||Time:-||effect|
Keeping one of these journals can help the doctor assess your pain and which pain relief will be suitable perhaps increasing your dosage at times when your activity is causing you the most pain.
Chronic or unceasing, constant back pain can be miserable, and for some very unfortunate people it is something they have no choice but to live with. This can lead to a very poor quality of life if it is not managed correctly. Pain is something that can only be measured and felt by the individual, it is different in each of us.
The trouble with pain is that it is all relative, what one person may feel with a back injury is not the same as the pain you may well be experiencing. Any pain is very real to the person experiencing it in the past long term back pain has sometimes been treated with “well we can’t see any further reason for your pain” therefore it was no longer treated. Today fortunately that is no longer the case, research has provided many more avenues for advancement in providing either partial, or total pain relief which has the potential to offer a greatly improved quality of life.
To achieve and improve the quality of life involves the co-operation and support of family, friends and support services such as your healthcare providers.
Concentrating on pain and the effects it has can have detrimental consequences.
The cycle of not being able to exercise or move because of the pain can lead to less movement and consequently more pain. With good support and a positive outlook pain can be managed. No-one claims this will be easy and when pain is niggling away at you and you are all on your own it will be hard, but tomorrow is another day and can always be better.
Top Tips for coping with Chronic Pain
- Remain forever optimistic – research is always ongoing
- Acknowledge your pain it is part of who you are, but it should not control you
- Work with your health care providers to improve your life
- Get fit, join exercise classes
- Monitor and adjust your pain medication with professionals
-Learn how to chill out with relaxation exercises, N.L.P
- Pace yourself, work up to accomplishments – set yourself goals
- Keep the positive people around you, people who see you not the pain
If you do suffer from chronic back pain and are referred to an NHS pain clinic by your doctor it will probably take about three months until you are able to get an appointment. Sometimes earlier cancellations may be available; it is always worth ringing the secretary to ask to be contacted if there is a cancellation if you are available on short notice.
Unfortunately you need to be referred by your doctor before you will get an appointment you cannot self refer. I waited for over a year before I received my physio appointment!! You just have to keep going back to your GP I had to write two letters of complaint before I was seen so you may need to persevere. If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford a private consultation it is obviously much better to start treatment earlier rather than later.