Even if you haven’t already, sooner or later it’s likely you are going to experience some back pain. I’ve had two terrible times in my life when I hurt my back and I’ll never forget them; I hurt so badly I couldn’t get my shoes on! It’s left me with a lot of sympathy for people that have long term back pain. Unfortunately, with hiking while carrying huge packs and equipment and all the ways that serving in the military requires lifting, toting, twisting, bending, etc., many veterans have back pain too.
In most cases, back pain isn’t that serious and there are things you can do to help the problem. However, since it can be the result of a slipped disc or other more serious problems, make sure you talk to your doctor first before trying any self-care. You also may want to look at your posture since it can have a big effect on back pain.
If you have an event which leaves you with a sore back, take some time off and pamper yourself – you’ll be glad in the long run that you did. Use ice for the first few days after a back strain, then switch to heat. Once healing begins, you may want to look at losing some weight and beginning some exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold your spine in place. That’s a great preventative for future pain.
If your pain continues, is stabbing, or produces numbness in your leg, call your healthcare provider. This may indicate a more serious problem. Most back pain can be managed though and over time can be prevented.