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Cost of back pain: How to get affordable relief

This woman wants to cure her backache

There’s only one thing more painful than back pain, and that is the thought of how much money it is going to cost to relieve it. Everything from medical bills through to months off work without pay can take a toll on your finances. To minimize the cost of back pain, find a route to relief it as quick as possible, before it seriously starts to affect family finances.

Here are realistic ways to get back on your feet… without spending a fortune to do so.

Find out what’s causing the aches

If you’re like most poeople, you’ll feel back pain at some point in life, especially as you get older. The most cost-effective way of dealing with it is to find out exactly what caused it so that you can make sure that it does not happen again.

Or, better yet, start to change your lifestyle now to avoid physical issues in later years.

A lot of back issues are caused by joints, muscles, and connective tissue, including ligaments and tendons. However, don’t make this assumption without getting a doctor to check your condition.

There’s good reason for this advice. Some back pain is caused by medical conditions affecting internal organs, such as a kidney infection.

The cause of your back pain could stem from activities at home or work. Employment-related causes of back pain are common, and they include:

  • Lifting weights

It could be repeated lifting of a light weight, perhaps at an awkward angle. Or, perhaps you lift of a very heavy weight once and the movement causes a muscle tear.

  • A slip, trip or fall at work

It is common to jar your back when you fall awkwardly.

  • Repeated movements

The back is prone to repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) in the same way as other parts of the body. People who work on production lines are especially prone to this type of injury.

  • Poor ergonomics

If your posture is poor as you sit at a desk all day, it can cause chronic tension and inflammation. Over time that issue can lead to pain and loss of movement.

Ways to minimize the cost of back pain

Start by looking at what is causing your aching backside, including the ideas aforementioned. Then do something about it, both on the job and at home.

At work

One of the first steps is to speak with your employer about how things can change for the better at work. Could you get a new ergonomically-designed chair, for example?

Or, are you able to take more breaks during the day? If your employer wants to minimize sick days and increase workplace productivity, they will do their best to incorporate ways to improve overall worker satisfaction.

Perhaps most importantly, use the benefits that you get through employment, including taking sick days to rejuvinate sore muscles and heal rather than straining them at work. Utilize other workplace-interventions too, when they will be for the benefit of your body and for pain managment, including potentially taking short-term or long-term disability, if needed.

In your personal life

Stress and tension are major causes of back pain and massage play a big role in helping relieve knots and chronic achiness of the back. For example, a growing body of research indicates that a traditional Chinese massage called Tui Na can provide low back pain relief, particularly when used in combination with core exercises.

To help keep down the cost of back pain and still enjoy massage, use your HSA or FSA to help cover massage therapy costs, if you live in the US. When that’s not offered through your place of employment, speak with HR. Your health is worth the conversation.

Lastly, exercise costs nothing – you don’t have to buy a gym membership! – and activity is one of the best ways of curing back pain. Get some advice from a physiotherapist first though about what exercise would be best for you so that you don’t risk worsening the injury with certain movements.

During your lunch break is a great time to fit in some fitness. If you don’t have a free gym at work then step outside for a walk; ask your coworkers to join you if going solo isn’t your thing.

Make sure that you get up from your desk every hour too and have a walk around. If you are able to go for a swim too, try it to see what relief it can bring for your back. If you have a pool close to your home, find out if there are special rates during certain hours of the day or senior days (if appropriate).

By introducing these simple and cost-effective changes to your lifestyle, you could make your back pain a thing of the past, all without going broke in the process.

Do you worry about the cost of back pain?

52 thoughts on “Cost of back pain: How to get affordable relief”

  1. Hmmmm back pain,where shall I start?!…..heading for an MRI to find out if I have another blown disc…one lower back fusion done already ,hope I don’t have another one…..

  2. Bioelectric therapy is a safe, drug-free treatment option for people in pain. It is used to treat some chronic pain and acute pain conditions. It relieves pain by blocking pain messages to the brain.

  3. Lots of great ideas that work! I want to add that I bought one of those back braces, like a large belt that stays on with velcro. I wear it when I have lower back pain from sitting at my computer too long. They’re really inexpensive at Walmart and even DIY home stores like Home Depot or Harbor Freight. Worth a try!

  4. Hmm, doesn’t look like anyone here believes in chiropractic care. When I was 22, I hurt my lower back by lifting heavy weights the wrong way on a construction site. My family doctor sent me for X-rays – which turned up nothing. I was prescribed muscle relaxants and pain killers. After a month of no relief, I was advised to visit a chiropractor. He had me walking without pain in a week. I’ve been going ever since – once a month for maintenance. He gave me exercises to do in order to strengthen the muscles around the lower spine. It’s another option. Thanks, Christy!

    1. I have a friend who goes regularly to a chiropractor, John. It can get expensive and I’ve heard mixed results BUT I’m glad you’ve found it works for you. And I really like that he gave you exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the lower part of your spine. Thumbs up to your feeling better!

  5. This might sound crazy, but since the bike hitting my back last summer, I’ve have lots of, and varying amounts of pain.
    At the first sign of “the ache” kicking in, I put on some Salon Pas. I find the ones that last for 3 hours usually do the trick. You can also get 12 hour patches.
    However, it’s not enough just t apply directly to the pain. Fan out from there. Where is it traveling? Up into my neck, down my arms or? I make a series of patches, like a spaced out trail. The patches seem to end up on acupressure points quite often.
    I’ve used them on my legs for knee pain & other situations.
    They are topical, natural, non invasive and feel great when you peel them off.
    They sure work for me. 40 – 3 hour patches costs $6.00 at a pharmacy. :D ♡♡

    1. That’s an awesome tip, Resa! I like that it’s a natural approach too. I know some methods work for one person and not for another but it’s great when we find things that jive with our body… provides peace for the body as well as the mind ;)

  6. I’ve struggled with various back conditions since I was pregnant with my youngest son who weighed ten pounds at birth. Many of those years since, I have been in and out of physical therapy. The best advice is work on core strength, watch what and how you lift, and use correct posture (this can be hard when your back is hurting, but none-the-less important). In addition to physical therapy, I have a regular workout routine that includes Pilates, some yoga, weights and elastic bands, and pool exercise. If you have trouble walking because of your back, walking in water eases your pain. Be consistent. During my years as a PT patient, I have seen many who have had surgery and have yet to meet anyone whose surgery produced the expected results and any were in more pain. It’s more about learning to manage your pain.

    1. Thank you for this thorough and helpful comment, Michelle! I hear time and again about the importance of core strength for taking the pressure off the back. Also, yoga is amazing for helping the back ~ and I love those smooth movements of the postures on the mats. I’m thinking you’re on a healthy track and that makes me happy :)

  7. Another excellent article, Christy. I’m glad you mentioned swimming; it served as a reminder for me to sign up at the local YWCA. I taught CNAs for several years, and one of my favorite classes was body mechanics. I loved the looks on my students faces when i told them holding a 2-lb. weight against your body becomes a 200-lb. force against your back when you extend your arm! So often we forget to hold an object close to our bodies when lifting it, and allow our thighs to do the work instead of our backs. You’re a walking encyclopedia of health info, my friend 💚

    1. “Body mechanics”… I like the sound of that, Tina. The water is so gentle on the joints. I cannot swim but want to do water aerobics! You’re a wealth of info, yourself!!

  8. I’ve known several people who’ve had back surgery, some of them many times. Somehow it didn’t help any of them… I have chronic lower back pain. I relate. But I have no intention of following in their footsteps. At least not until I see it help someone.
    Have a good weekend, Christy.

  9. Having a strong core helps so much with relieving and preventing back. I suffer from chronic hip and back pain, and if I let my core strength slip, I definitely feel it. Awesome post!

    1. I send best wishes to your mom.. I hope she finds a solution that works for her soon.. She is lucky to have you as her caring daughter, Sweta <3

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