7 Simple Ways to Relieve Back Pain and Prevent Serious Issues
7 Simple Ways to Relieve Back Pain and Prevent Serious Issues
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When it comes to back pain, many of us will experience this at some point in our lives. The lumbar area is one of the most active parts of the body and can often be strained by physical activity or awkward postures. It’s a common ailment that affects millions every year. Back pain can be temporary and subside after a few days, weeks, or even months depending on the intensity and frequency of pain. However, there are instances when back pain is much more than just an inconvenience; it’s a sign of potential problems ahead with serious implications. While most cases of back pain can be managed through proper exercise and ergonomic changes, if left untreated it may lead to long lasting issues such as herniated discs, pinched nerves and other spinal complications. Here are seven simple ways to relieve back pain and prevent serious issues:
Exercising is one of the most effective methods of managing back pain. If you’re experiencing pain that can be attributed to overuse or poor posture, a strengthening routine will help you improve posture and stabilize the muscles in the lumbar region. You can also try yoga or Pilates, as they focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles of the core. If you’re experiencing pain due to a specific incident, such as lifting something off the floor with poor form, you’ll need to focus on rest and recovery. Exercises such as leg lifts in a bridge position, bridge rotations and bird dogs are great for strengthening the core, while spinal decompression exercises are helpful in recovering from an injury. If you’re experiencing muscle spasms or chronic back pain, a combination of both rest and exercise is best.
Adjust your workspace
Many people spend the bulk of their day in front of a computer; a set up which can put a lot of pressure on the lower back. If you fall into this category, it’s a good idea to get up every 30-60 minutes and stretch your legs and back. You can also try fidgeting in your seat throughout the day, as continuous static posture can also put pressure on the lower back. If you’re in an office setting, talk to your HR representative about ergonomic furniture options that will help you avoid back pain. At home, be sure to sit with good posture (think “sit like a pencil”) and use a foot rest if your feet are dangled above the floor.
Try heat and ice
This is a classic method of relieving pain and inflammation. When experiencing back pain, use a heating pad or a hot water bottle and apply it to your back for around 20 minutes. After this time, switch to an ice pack and do the same for another 20 minutes. Many experts recommend alternating between these two for at least three cycles. If you have a chronic back pain issue, it’s recommended to use heat for the initial phase and then transition to ice for around 20 minutes. These two modalities are great for relieving muscle spasms and pain, as well as reducing inflammation in the lumbar region. Be sure to use them correctly, as applying heat and ice to the lumbar spine for too long can cause damage.
Regular stretching is a great way to prevent back pain and strengthen the core. There are many stretches you can do, but a few of the best ones are the seated forward bend, seated spinal twist, and bridge pose. The seated forward bend is a great stretch for the hamstrings, which are often the culprit in lower back pain. The seated spinal twist is a fantastic stretch for the spinal region and shoulders. Finally, bridge pose is an effective stretch for the lower back muscles. You can also try a yoga or Pilates class, as these are great for strengthening the core and improving posture. There are many other exercises you can do to strengthen your core, but these are among the most effective core-strengthening exercises for back pain.
Eat healthy and get enough sleep
This may sound like common sense, but it’s important to get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet to prevent back pain from becoming a serious issue. For example, eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, and almonds, are proven to be effective in reducing back pain. Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of back pain. Getting enough sleep is also important, as sleep deprivation will negatively impact your biomechanics and increase the likelihood of injury. Finally, exercise regularly, but in a way that doesn’t strain your back.
Use a lumbar support
If you’re experiencing back pain, you can use a lumbar support as a temporary fix until you experience relief. Lumbar supports are easy to wear and can be used while sitting, driving, or even sleeping. A lumbar support is designed to promote good spinal posture and can help your lower back muscles to relax and breath. Lumbar supports are available in many shapes and sizes, so it’s important to find one that fits your body type: Whether it’s a lumbar support belt or a lumbar support pillow, the general idea is to provide gentle support to the lumbar region. If you have chronic back pain, it’s recommended to use a lumbar support periodically, as it can help relieve pain and pressure in the lumbar region. A good general tip is: if you spend most of your day in it, its a worth an investment. Meaning if you're gonna spend a lot of your day in a chair, make sure it is comfortable
When it comes to back pain, every individual is different and has their own specific triggers and experiences. That being said, there are general guidelines that can help prevent back pain and serious issues. The best way to avoid back pain is to start with good posture and ergonomic changes. Once pain begins, it’s best to use these seven methods to relieve back pain and prevent further complications.