What to do if ... you throw out your back

Throwing out your back can be a sudden and major inconvenience. Zee Khan, M.D., a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon for Utica Park Clinic, gives tips on what to do if this happens.

What to do:

• If able, use over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) or acetaminophens.

• Use heat/ice as needed.

• Rest initially but resume light activities when able. Light movements and stretching are important to prevent stiffness and restore motion.

What not to do:

• Stay in bed or be immobile for long periods of time.

• Certain repetitive activities, such as bending and twisting at the waist and heavy lifting.

• Use medications prescribed to others, particularly narcotics and muscle relaxers.

How to prevent it:

• Have a strong core (abdominal and back muscles). Pilates and yoga are great for this.

• Get to and maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about what’s a healthy weight for you.

• Always lift with the legs and use proper technique. Avoid bending at the waist to lift heavy things.

When to see a doctor:

• Unrelenting or severe pain that does not improve with OTC medications or lasts longer than two weeks.

• If you develop any pain, numbness, tingling or any weakness in the legs.

• If you develop fevers, chills or night sweats.

• Please go to the ER with any sudden loss of bowel or bladder control, loss of sensation in the groin or inability to stand due to leg weakness. This can be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, which requires urgent surgical attention.

For more information or to request an appointment, call 918-574-0220.