There are different types of back pain. Sharp, piercing pains in your back may be an indication of a serious injury, and you should seek medical attention for the issue immediately. Dull, aching pain, on the other hand, is not usually such an emergency. It can result from overusing muscles in your back or even just sleeping in a strange position. A good way to approach aching back pains is to follow the ABCs. Here's a look.
A: Advil or Aleve
Taking an NSAID pain reliever does more than make you feel comfortable for a few hours. The pain reliever also alleviates the inflammation associated with this kind of back injury, which can help it heal faster. Advil is a brand name for ibuprofen, and really, any ibuprofen medication is fine to take as long as you follow the instructions on the package. Aleve is the brand name for naproxen, another NSAID. Naproxen lasts a bit longer than ibuprofen, so if you don't want to be popping pills every 4 - 6 hours, it's probably your better bet.
B: Back Off Activity
After you take a dose of pain relievers, it's time for some rest. Back off of any activity that engages your back. This even includes walking more than a short distance, since you need to use the muscles in your back to walk properly. Rest on the couch in a position that is comfortable for your back. If the ache subsides in a day or two, you can then slowly work yourself back into activity, but avoid anything strenuous, like lifting heavy items or working out at the gym, for at least a week.
Whether your back pain subsides with rest and pain relievers or not, it's a good idea to see a chiropractor. Chances are, if you strained your back, it is at least in part because your vertebrae are not properly aligned. Your chiropractor can ease them back into place so there is less strain on your back in the future as you walk, jump, lift, and partake in other activities. Chiropractic care is very safe and painless, though you may feel some slight tightness or aching in the day after your appointment as your muscles adjust to the new vertebral positioning.
And that's all there is to it! The next time your back begins to ache, remember your ABCs. Aleve or Advil, Back off Activity, and visit your Chiropractor.