Do you feel like you are always suffering from back pain? Do you ice your back, use heating pads, take massive amounts of pain killers on a regular basis, or avoid exertion to avoid the pain?Are you always saying to your friends and family ‘my back hurts!’ to the point where you sound like a broken record? Do you fear that you might be dealing with unmanageable pain for the rest of your life?
Or do you regularly work out, but sometimes strain your back or other muscles from overworking yourself? Or have you had a work related injury that has left you unable to get over the pain?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably aware that this can be a pretty depressing circumstance to be in. The future seems pretty bleak if you only have pain and suffering to look forward to. Before you give up and stop reading…
The good news is that, unless you have been in a car accident or have some other serious injury, are severely obese, or have other medical issues, there is no reason to simply accept this kind of pain. You need to decide you’re done with the pain, and ready to move on!
Thankfully there are many solutions to back pain that don’t require prescription medications or surgery. Really! There are millions of people out there who have found relief in ways that they can manage on their own. Most people are willing to try just about anything to avoid those extensive means, so if you are one of those people, read on to try 7 steps to solving back pain.
1. The Art of Sitting
First, you need to do something that sounds simple- you need to sit properly! You sit all day long most likely, or if you are on your feet much of the day, you probably spend the evenings sitting. Most people actually do not sit properly. Whether you are hunching your shoulders, not using the proper muscles in your abdomen, or any of the many ways we sit improperly, you need to re-learn how to sit properly. You want to sit up straight, and with your shoulders slightly pulled back, positioned over your hips.
2. The Art of Standing
The second tip is quite the opposite- stand! Many people don’t stand often enough if they sit behind a desk for work. Many doctors recommend that you try a sit stand workstation as a desk. With this kind of station, you can adjust the height so that you can work in both a resting, and a semi standing position simultaneously. This kind of situation can allow your back a break for when you are sitting too long without being forced to take a break from work. If you can’t afford this kind of workstation, you can also just make sure to get up and walk around. Try walking for a few minutes every half hour, or at least every hour, to keep your body moving and feeling more comfortable. The more stationary you are sitting at a desk, the worse your back pain will probably be.
3. The Art of Sleeping Properly
You’re probably saying, ‘what? I’m causing myself more back pain while I’m sleeping? You can’t be serious!’ but it is true. When you’re asleep, you are, most likely, laying in one still position for an extended period of time (several hours). When you are stressing your muscle for a period of time, it might get uncomfortable, but if you are asleep, you may not realize that you need to adjust your body. This leads to stiffness and pain in the morning when you wake up. And if you are doing this night after night, you will wind up with back pain every morning, and even muscle damage.This can be hard to overcome. If you’ve always slept on your side, you’ll probably continue to do so, and the same goes for stomach and back sleepers. The good thing is there are slight ways to change this cycle. If you are a side sleeper, use a pillow to put in between your legs, to balance out the weight of your legs from pulling the muscles in your back. You can use a pillow you have at home, or you can buy one of the specially designed pillows for just this type of pain. If you are a back or stomach sleeper, you can similarly use a pillow for relief by placing it under your back, or under your stomach, to balance out your body weight. You’ll probably have to try it out for a few nights to get comfortable with it, but you may find easy relief by doing so.
4. Good Posture
While it was mentioned previously in this article, posture is important to the overall well-being of your back. Posture is actually affecting you constantly. You have a certain posture when you sleep, when you sit, and when you stand. You want to try to minimize the stress on your back muscles, which will, in turn relive the lower back pain you may be feeling. You don’t want to pull your shoulders back too far and overcompensate, but you also don’t want to be hunching, or curling your shoulders forward, which will also result in pain. While you are standing or walking, try to have your shoulders evenly over your hips- not pulling in any way too far to the front or the back. While sitting, it helps most people to have a pillow or a back supporter to put behind their back while sitting.
A simple, cheap and easy fix for many cases of lower back pain is heat. You can buy an electric heating pack, or even homemade rice filled heating bag that can be thrown into the microwave for a few minutes. This will provide almost immediate relief for many cases of back pain. This typically only provides short term relief, which you can also get by taking a hot bath. If your back pain is minor or only occurs occasionally, this may help you. If you suffer from constant back pain, this may give you temporary relief every now and then, but you will probably need to try more serious fixes.
6. Bath and Epsom Salts
Epsom salts, and medicated bath salts, can be wonderful for lower back pain. Soaking in a hot bath on its own can be a help for many people, so the addition of the salts can work wonders on back pain. This is because the salts have almost magical ways of relieving muscles that are strained and stressed.
So many individuals are probably familiar with the term ‘planking’ which has become quite popular lately, but we are referring to the exercise, the plank. This is similar to a standard pushup. You want to lie flat, and then push up onto your elbows, with your bent arms being positioned directly down from your shoulders. Next, flex your core muscles as you hold your body off the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles and hold this position firm for at least 1 minute. Just your toes and your arms should be touching the ground. This exercise will build your core muscles, which will, over time, relieve back pain. This is a tried and true trick that physical therapists use to help their clients with back pain.
These 7 tips are great ways to get started to relieve your back pain. If you’ve tried these simple, do it yourself tricks, and you are still seeing no signs of relief, you really must visit with a physician to be sure you do not have any permanent damage in your back. If you are just beginning to feel minor pain, these 7 ideas may just possibly be your salvation to living pain free! Good luck to you!