Did you know that back pain is one of the most common reasons for missing work? In fact, 31 million Americans reportedly suffer from back pain on a daily basis.
While the severity of back pain does vary to a large degree, it has the ability to be debilitating and result in serious health defects. Fortunately, there are steps one can take to reduce suffering and finally get relief from back pain.
If you suffer from chronic back pain or even on-and-off instances, you’re going to want to read this. Here are 10 ways you can get relief from your back pain so you can continue to enjoy life.
1. Daily Exercise
You’ve heard it before and we’re going to say it again: Exercise is the best medicine for back pain.
Daily exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym and lifting weights. In fact, simple tasks such as walking can be exceptionally beneficial to maintaining a more pain-free back.
The goal is to reduce the instances of sitting, get the body moving and increasing the occurrence of having the body in an upright position.
A simple twenty-minute walk could do the trick. However, be sure to avoid certain exercises that can prove more strenuous on the back. These are activities such as gardening, snow shoveling or anything that may have caused your back pain in the first place.
2. Limit Long Instances of Sitting
For those that work desk jobs, you’re going to want to listen up!
If you work a traditional 9-5 desk job, you may not necessarily have the ability to get up and do as you please. However, there are steps you can take to help back pain that might be caused by too much sitting.
Consider a standing desk. These desks have grown in popularity in the last few years and are now widely available. If this is not an option, consider simply placing your computer atop a pile of books. This prevents you from having to lean down to type and forces your back muscles to more properly align.
You can also consider opting for a back support that sits on your chair and forces the body to sit upright.
3. Maintain Good Posture
Maintaining good posture when sitting or standing is a surprisingly simple means of reducing back pain.
While it’s easy to forget, paying attention to your posture can go a long way.
When your posture is correct, the bones of the spine (the vertebrae) are accurately aligned. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back helps to take pressure off the nerves. This, in turn, will help to reduce back pain.
Remember, good posture isn’t just required when standing. Considering back pain can come from long instances of sitting, it’s important to practice good posture especially while sitting.
4. Strengthen Your Core
One of the keys to managing back pain lies in stronger core muscles.
If the abdominal muscles are weak, other muscles have to pick up the slack. Once the abdominals are strengthened, the strain on the lower back is reduced.
If your body allows, try incorporating daily core exercises into your routine. To start, hold your body in the planking position for 15-second intervals. From here, you can begin to craft a light exercise routine that caters to the core.
5. Take a Break from The Brace
While a brace does help to manage pain, there are side-effects.
The truth is, wearing a brace for an extended period of time can result in lazy muscles. When a brace is worn throughout the day, the muscles weaken which results in less core strength.
For strenuous activities that must be completed throughout the day, you can wear the brace. However, it should not be used continuously for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Try ditching the daily brace. Instead, use other coping mechanisms to help manage the pain.
6. Apply Ice and Heat
As per the last tip, there are other means of managing pain aside from a brace.
Introducing ice and heat therapy. This is, without a doubt, one of the most popular means of managing pain. And, why not? It’s cheap, easy, safe and extremely effective.
If the back is swollen, use ice to reduce the swelling. After applying the ice for half an hour, switch to heat for a more extended period of time.
For still, aching muscles, it’s best to skip the ice and apply heat.
So long as the skin is protected from the source, feel free to use either ice or heat to help manage your back pain.
7. Sleep Correctly
The position in which you sleep at night is extremely significant for those suffering from back pain. We understand it can be difficult to turn over a new leaf when it comes to go-to sleeping positions. But there are steps we can take to make each position better for the back. Some pointers:
- For back sleepers, rest a pillow under the knees
- For side sleepers, place a pillow between the knees -this helps keep the spine in a neutral position.
- Avoid stomach sleeping -this causes the neck and head to twist and put stress on the back.
If you have a hard time avoiding sleeping on your stomach, place a pillow under your abdomen. This helps to relieve some pressure off of your back while laying on the stomach.
8. Quit Smoking
Smoking a cigarette doesn’t just ware on your lungs, it also affects your back.
Trust us, this isn’t just another ploy to get you to stop smoking. In fact, studies reveal that current smokers are more likely to suffer from back pain than non-smokers.
Why is this, exactly?
Nicotine, found in cigarettes, causes the small blood vessels to compress. This then decreases the flow of blood to the soft tissue.
So, what are you waiting for? We present to you the perfect excuse to quit smoking!
9. Buy a New Mattress
Sleeping on the wrong mattress can not just worsen back pain, but also be the culprit of it.
While it’s commonly assumed a firm mattress helps manage back pain, new evidence is pointing to the use of medium-firm mattresses. As compared to an ultra soft or ultra firm mattress, a medium-firm mattress encourages good posture and properly relaxes muscles.
According to a study of 313 patients with back pain, those sleeping on medium-firm mattresses reported less back pain than those on very firm mattresses.
Lucky for us, companies nowadays allow customers to test new mattresses for weeks at a time. This can allow those suffering from back pain to test different mattresses in order to find that perfect mattress to suit their back.
10. Visit a Specialist
If back pain persists, you’re going to want to visit a specialist who can provide you with the steps necessary to help treat your back.
The Comprehensive Spine Institute is able to treat back pain with varying treatment options. If you find the above steps are not helping to manage your pain, things such as spinal cord stimulators have proven the be very effective.
Back pain can be exceptionally debilitating and so it’s always worth investing in professionals to help.
Are You Ready to Get Relief From Back Pain?
If you’re someone that suffers from chronic back pain, it’s vital to discover the best way to manage your pain. And, while it may seem impossible, there are countless methods available to get relief from back pain.
From ice and heat therapy to better exercise routines and a new mattress, the options are plentiful and sometimes even simple. And, if you find your back pain to be worsening, there are spine professionals who are always available to help.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to explore our blog for more lifestyle articles!