10 Ways to Help Alleviate Back Pain

10 Ways to Help Alleviate Back Pain

Did you know that nearly 80% of Americans suffer from back pain?

In addition to strenuous activities, back pain can be associated with a number of daily activities such as gardening and weight lifting. Sometimes even bending down to pick up a pencil may painfully give out your back.

One 46-year-old Chicago artist, after running a half-marathon, described her back pain as “a screwdriver piercing through her bones”. The feeling petrified her and took over her life. She thought she would never feel normal again.

However, there are remedies that you can take to prevent back pain. With a combination of core activities, various strengthening exercises, physical therapy and even sleeping on a good mattress topper will dramatically improve your chances of reducing back pain.

It’s important to take care of your back pain from the beginning. If ignored, this may become your companion for life.

Chief of Physical Therapy at Harvard University, Mary Ann Wilmarth said that early intervention can prevent back pains from developing to a chronic stage. It can also avert the need for powerful medication and invasive surgery.

Here are 10 simple ways to alleviate back pain.

1. Limit Bed Rest

People who rest more with short-term low back pain have a harder time adjusting to their daily tasks than people who move around. Studies show that staying active is one of the primary ways you can go through the day with back pain.

Mike Flippin, MD, and an orthopedic surgeon at San Diego Medical Center encourage his patients to start moving around as soon as possible. He strongly recommends avoiding more than three days of bed rest.

2. Keep Exercising

Properly done exercises can often be the best medicine to alleviate back pain. The exercises don’t have to be complicated. Specialists say that walking is an excellent choice of exercise as it puts the body in a neutral and upright position.

However, it’s best to stay away from strenuous activity or from whatever action that caused the back pain.

3. Maintain Good Posture

Poor posture can lead to back pain or worsen your existing back pain. The strain from bad posture doesn’t happen in a day. It builds up for years and causes unnecessary strain on their backs.

You can add 50% extra pressure on your back simply by leaning over the sink while brushing your teeth. You have to keep the right amount of curvature to keep pressure off the nerves and reduce back pain.

4. See a Specialist

Scott Davis (PT, MS, EdD, OCS), orthopedic physical therapist and an associate professor at West Virginia University urges people with back pain to develop an exercise plan to manage chronic back pain.

In reality, there is no magic medicine that targets lower back pain. Patients need to strengthen their core to alleviate their back pain by stretching and improving their physical flexibility. A physical therapist, physiologist or a chiropractor can help you in these matters of back care with a tailored exercise plan.

5. Strengthen Your Core

Having a strong abdominal muscle acts as an advantage for people with chronic back pain. This is because the torso is a combination of various muscles working in unison.

Frank B. Wyatt (EdD), a professor of exercise physiology from Missouri Western State University recommends strengthening abdominal muscles. Weak abdominal muscles put pressure on other lower back muscles to pick up the slack.  That is why strengthening your core is essential in reducing strain on the lower back.

6. Improve Flexibility

Too much tension and tightness is another reason for having back pain. Increasing the flexibility will help put an equal load throughout the body. That way none of the muscles will be overextended.

According to experts, you can follow an easy exercise to limber up your body. First, sit on the bed with one leg extended and the on the floor. Then stretch out your hamstrings a little by leaning forward, keeping your back in a neutral position. Repeat this with the other leg.

7. Ditch the Brace

There are many victims of back pain who believes that using a brace regularly will help alleviate back pain. While it is true that a brace helps fortify the back muscles – it should be used sparingly and only while doing strenuous activities.

Continuously using a brace all day will weaken the back muscles. The back muscles are used for providing stability and stronger back muscles will provide higher core strength.

8. Apply Ice and Heat

If you have a pain in your trunks and lower back, you can use heating ice and cold packs to comfort them. Most doctors recommend using ice in the first 48 hours of the injury. If there is swelling, then you should switch to heat.

9. Sleep the Right Way

If you are a victim of back and lower back pain, then you know how important it is to sleep in the correct position – having a bad posture when sleeping can worsen your back condition.

While sleeping, back sleepers should use pillows under their knees. Side sleepers should place pillows between their knees as it will keep their spine neutral position.

It’s highly recommended that you don’t sleep on your stomach for an extended period of time.

10. Quit Smoking

Smoking doesn’t only damage your lungs. It can also hurt your back. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine uncovered that former smokers are likely to be affected by back pain than non-smokers.

Experts say that nicotine constricts the blood vessels and restricts blood flow to the soft tissue. That’s why quitting smoking will reduce back pain.

Conclusion

In addition, depression and anxiety can also cause back pain. Your emotional state affects the state of your back pain. In cases like this therapy can help you towards rehabilitation.

If nothing works, then try to relax – as in use meditation techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi and yoga to put your mind at rest. It will do wonders for your back.

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