Figuring out how to get rid of back pain is a challenge for many. That’s usually because back pain can be caused by so many different things. And to make matters worse, many of the causes of back pain don’t show up and any of the diagnostic tests that you get from your doctor.
Finding out what’s actually causing the back pain is generally the first step in treating it. However, what’s causing your back pain may not show up on any test or x-ray you’ve taken. This happens to many people.
It may seem that you visit your doctor every 2 weeks or so trying to find a way to get some relief. And, with some, there is a lot of wasted time, energy and money going back and forth to specialists and taking CT scans, MRIs, nerve conduction tests and more. In the end, a prescription for muscle relaxers and pain relievers is the only solution your doctor may come to.
If you’re suffering from back pain, especially if your doctor doesn’t really know what’s causing it, one of the best things that you can do is to keep a “Back Pain Diary”. Keeping this kind of diary will make it easier to get rid of back pain. (see this post about the prevalence of back pain)
This doesn’t have to be anything special. Just a small note book that is dedicated to tracking your back pain through the day. Using a back pain diary can actually give you and your doctor a pretty good understanding of what may be causing your back pain. Keeping track of when you have your back pain and what makes it worse will let your doctor and therapist know what body structures may be involved.
As I mentioned above, your back pain diary doesn’t have to be elaborate. And, you don’t want to make it into a novel about your back pain. It should be well organized and easy to read and follow. This makes it easy for you to scan through it looking for pain patterns. Once you see a pattern of pain, it will make it easier to get rid of back pain.
So, what does a back pain diary look like? It’s a daily journal that can be divided in several different ways. You also want to be able to track the intensity, description, location, of your back pain, and any particular activity that seems to make it better or worse.
Many medical professionals use the “0-10” pain scale to measure intensity. Where zero equals no pain at all, and a rating of 10 would put you in the emergency room. Many people using this scale say that they have an “11”, “12”, or “30” using this scale. But, unless you are actually in the emergency room, it’s less than 10. Yes, a number 10 indicates pain so severe that you have to call 9-1-1.
The description of pain is straight forward. Back pain can be described as “sharp”, “aching”, “burning”, or even “buzzing”. But, you aren’t limited to these. Your back pain may feel like something totally different than these.
And then there is the location. Again, this is straight forward. Where do you feel it most? Does it travel? Does it have a different description in different body parts?
Some people keep track of their back pain by the hour. In other words, you track your pain hourly or any other manageable time periods, i.e. every 4 hours or what have you.
Which ever way you decide to organize your back pain diary, try and keep it consistent from day to day. At the end of each day you may want to have a comment section where you can add any significant events good or bad.
And then, the next time you go to see your doctor or physical therapist, you can take your diary and go over it with them. This will give them more information so that they can more effectively help you get rid of back pain.