Striking Back Against Back Pain `
Back pain affects an estimated 80 per cent of Americans at some point in their life. In many cases, it can be debilitating, preventing sufferers from doing many physical tasks as well as causing constant discomfort. If you’ve recently suffered a back injury or have a muscular or spinal condition, here are some of the main ways that you may be able to alleviate the pain and prevent any further injury from taking place.
It used to be the case that physicians would recommend staying in bed to treat a bad back. We now know that this doesn’t always work – staying in bed for two days after an injury is often the best course of action, but after that staying active could help reduce inflammation. This could be anything from jogging to cycling. If you have lower back pain, avoid physical activity on uneven surfaces (such as running of a beach or cycling over cobbles) as this could aggravate the pain. Sports sites such as Runner’s World offer some of the best exercises that could help alleviate back pain.
Switch the way you sleep
The way you sleep could be making your bad back worse. Professionals will often recommend sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest. This is the most natural way to sleep. Those that like sleeping on their back and can’t break the habit may be able to ease the pain by placing a pillow under the knees and lower back. Sleeping on your front is not recommended with back pain but you may be able to support yourself better with pillows. Also consider orthopaedic bedding options from companies such as Simba Sleep. A firmer mattress is usually suggested for giving your spine that extra support.
Protect your posture
You should try to keep a good posture to protect your back, particularly when seated. Upright chairs and ones with lower back support are the best options for encouraging you sit straight and not slump (which will only damage your back further). There are companies such as Oak Tree Mobility that specialise in orthopaedic armchairs. You may also be able to find orthopaedic office chairs for working over a desk. Some office workers have even gone so far as to buying raised stand up desks for their office.
Look out when lifting
Lifting heavy objects can aggravate a bad back and should be avoided where possible. If you do have to lift something, never bend over at the stomach to do it – always squat down and keep a straight back. Turning your body whilst carrying a heavy object can also cause damage to a back injury.
Take a hot bath
Regular hot baths are a great relaxing way to fight back pain. The heat will release tension in the muscles causing a stiff back. If you’ve only recently had a back injury however, it may be worth refraining from hot baths for now and focusing on cold treatments. Holding icepacks and bags of frozen vegetables against the source of the ache for the first 48 hours will help to reduce initial inflammation.
Visit a chiropractor
Chiropractors are professionals that deal in bodily manipulation in order to relieve pain and help bodily heal injuries. They may be able to give a massage to alleviate back pain. They can also recommend stretches, exercises and ways of improving posture and mobility. There are many companies out there such as Family Chiropractic Plus that could be worth signing up to.
Try holistic therapy
On top of investing in a chiropractor, you may wish to try out some holistic therapy options to alleviate back pain. Acupuncture is one of the most common forms of holistic therapy, which involves placing tiny needles in and around the back to help target nerve endings and pressure points. This in turn gets rid of some of the pain and muscles tightness. Whilst not effective for everyone, many have found it to have positive effects. Other treatments such as acupressure, regular massages and herbal treatments could also be worth experimenting with. Devil’s Claw is a popular herbal treatment that you may be able to get at your local herbal ingredient store or pharmacist.
Take a break from heels
Once diagnosed with back pain, it may be time to take a break from those high heeled shoes. Not only do high heels aggravate many joints in the legs, they can also aggravate the spine and hips causing further back problems. Start embracing flats and only wearing heels on rare special occasions.
Say no to skinny jeans
Skinny jeans may not stick out as a cause of back pain, but they can be. Tight clothing that restricts movement when bending, crouching or walking can put pressure on the back. You may find it more comfortable to switch to looser clothing.
Be wary of your bag
Bags with one strap such as handbags and satchel bags result in uneven weight distribution that can be bad for your back. Switching the side you wear your bag each day could help to combat this. You should similarly aim to switch hands when it comes to carrier bags and heavy shopping bags. Backpacks are in fact the best option for your back as they evenly distribute any weight that you’re carrying. Whilst it may not look cool, tightening the straps so that the backpack sits higher and using a chest strap will severely reduce any back pain.