Pain in your back is something that is very common. In fact, it is cited as one of the main reasons why people are unable to come into work. The back, especially the lower back area, is a support for the whole of the upper body, and as a result, has to deal with a lot of stresses and strains. Motions or movements that you do everyday can have an impact, from sitting incorrectly at your desk, sleeping in an awkward position, or simply twisting or lifting.
There are a range of things that can lead to back pain. Some will be more obvious like a sudden twist or strain and you feel the pain immediately, or when you have a sports injury, for example. But there are other instances where you can start to get back pain but don’t know the source, such as arthritis, aging, or even something like scoliosis. As you can see in this article, scoliosisinstitute.com/lumbar-scoliosis/, back pain can be a symptom of scoliosis, especially if yours is quite subtle and not a massive curvature of the spine. The bottom line is, though, that although back pain is something that is common, it doesn’t have to be something that you simply put up with. No matter what the cause of your lower back pain is there are some recommendations and tips to help you to deal with the back pain that you are having, what you can do to help back pain, and how you can take steps to prevent any future problems.
Maintain Correct Posture
In order to protect yourself and make sure that you don’t cause your back and lower back any problems, having the right posture is key. When you maintain correct posture, especially when you are doing any heavy lifting projects or when you are doing a lot of repetitive work and repetitive motions, it will help you to avoid injury or any pain. One of the key things that you can do is to stop slouching and avoid doing this as much as possible. When you do this, and you keep your spine in the correct position, you will be helping yourself massively to avoid potential back pain. If you are lifting something heavy, then correct posture, such as bending from the knees, rather than from the waist, is vital. You should move your hips to twist your body, rather than leading any movement with your back.
Maintain Correct Posture When You’re Sitting
As well as maintaining correct posture when you are doing activities, taking steps to look after your posture when you are just sitting there. From watching movies at night to sitting at your desk to work, there are a range of things that you will need to have correct posture with. When working from a desk, you should keep your feet planted flat onto the floor, as well making sure that you have a chair that gives you support for your lower back. Holding the same kind of posture for a long time can cause problems if you’re not sitting correctly in the first place. You should also make sure that you can avoid hunching to get closer to a screen. If you do that, then it can cause back problems when you reach forwards and when having to reach far to get to the keyboard or computer mouse.
Stretch Your Muscles Out
When you stretch, it is a really good way to help to relieve chronic pain with your back. When you make this a regular part of your routine, you can also help yourself to prevent any problems with your back, especially the lower back. The muscles that are in your back cover a range of different directions, so it is best practice to keep the kinds of stretches that you do varied. Something like yoga is an amazing thing that you can do to help to stretch your back muscles and relieve any back pain.
This article, health.harvard.edu/stretching-strengthening-healing-preventing-back-pain, describes clearly how you need stretching to help back pain, as well as preventing any back pain. If you are looking for some ideas, then here some back stretches that you could do:
- With a mat, lay flat on your back, and then start to pull your knees up closely to your chest.
- Again, with a mat, lay flat with your arms stretched out. Then you should bend one of your knees and twist it in the direction of the other leg that is straight. At the same time, you should try to touch your knee that is bent and get it as closely to the floor as possible. It can be a good stretch for the lower back in particular.
- It can be a good idea to lay on your front, with arms stretched out above your head. Then aim to lift your upper chest off the floor as far as you can. Do this with lifting up your legs off the floor too (you may know that this move or stretch is called a superman).
Heat and Ice
If you are someone who currently has some back pain, then it is a good idea to apply ice as soon as you can feel the pain. If you can’t do it immediately, then it is important to ice the area of the back where you feel the pain within the first day. It can be so much relief to help to ease some pain and help to reduce some swelling. Once you have done that, then it can be helpful to have some heat on the area, as a way to relax the muscles, especially if they are tight. Using heat is something that can be very helpful for lower back pain, especially if you are experiencing chronic pain that isn’t related to a specific injury. No matter your situation, and even if you just use heat or ice, it is best to only use them for twenty minutes at a time; you don’t want to cause any problems with your skin.
Consider Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
When it comes to over-the-counter pain relief, it can make such a difference to how much pain you’re feeling. Using anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin or ibuprofen are key when it comes to pain in your back. They relieve the pain but they can also help to reduce swelling in the back muscles. If you want to get the most from your medications, then it is a good idea to take them for a couple of days in a row, if the pain is quite constant. It is also a good thing to check that these medications are going to be suitable for you, as they won’t work for everyone, so check with your doctor beforehand.
Consider Complementary Therapies
There are a range of things that you can do to manage any back pain and help to relieve it. You can stretch to help the pain, as well as take pain medications. However, having a massage, or other complementary therapies can be helpful. Something like a massage helps to relieve tension, as well as to lengthen any tense and tight muscles. The muscles in your back are going to help you to have overall core stability, which is why they are so important to look after and to help to prevent any problems with your back.
Sleep On a Quality Mattress
If you are someone that has back pain when you wake up each morning, then it could be a good idea to change up the kind of mattress that you use. If you have back pain, then changing the mattress to one that is firmer, can make a big difference. The sleep position that you sleep in can also play a part, so think about that when it comes to choosing your mattress. If you want to maintain good posture and are someone who sleeps on their side, then it could be a good idea to choose a softer mattress. If you sleep on your front or on your bak, then a firm mattress is what will be needed to support your mattress as is needed. If you have a lot of back pain, then it can be important to stop sleeping on your front altogether. This can be difficult but it will help to avoid pain in your back, especially in your lower back.
For any back pain that doesn’t get better after a month or so, if you have changed how you sleep and got a new mattress and are still in pain, then you should see a medical professional. Some other health indicators of back pain, that don’t get better when they have been dealt with, are:
- Previous diagnosis of cancer
- A recent injury, fall or other accident
- Unexplained and fast weight loss
- Indications of infections like a fever
- Any problems with your nerves, from tingling to numbness
- Recent changes in your bladder or bowel function
If you need any other help and advice, then speaking to a medical professional is a must. Take care with what you do and it can help to relieve any back pain and prevent more happening in the future.