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Health Tip: Help Manage Back Pain

-- When you begin to feel back pain, resist the urge to stay in bed for a prolonged period. It's better to remain active, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

As long as you don't have a serious underlying medical problem that's causing your pain, the UMMC offers these suggestions for how to tame it:

  • For the first few days, take it easier, but only for a few days. After that, gradually become more active until you're back to your regular routine.
  • Apply either heat or ice to your sore back -- whichever feels better. You can also alternate between the two, starting with ice for the first two or three days, followed by muscle-relaxing heat beginning the next day.
  • If it's OK with your doctor, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Take a warm bath before bed to soothe your back and help you sleep.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs (if on your side), or under your knees (if on your back).
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Posted: January 2009