Change Sleep Position
When you suffer from back pain, it can be difficult to get a good night of sleep. If you are putting too much stress on your spine, it can lead to chronic back pain. Sleeping on your side can help align your spine and reduce stress. If you have a hard time sleeping on your side, then you can try sleeping on your back and using pillows for extra support under your knees. It may take some time to find a position that helps alleviate your pain. Investing in good supportive pillows can be helpful in creating an environment that is supportive and easier to fall asleep in. If you begin to wake up with less stiffness and soreness then you know you are doing something right.
Reduce Extra Bed Rest
If your back is hurting, then you may think that not moving it at all will allow it to heal faster. Experts have found that the solution is not as simple as that. You need to keep mobile so that muscles in your back have a chance to be exercised and remain strong. Laying in bed can mean that you keep your back in all types of positions that are not the best for it. Sitting up encourages proper spinal alignment. Blood clots and other issues can occur in those that stay in bed too long and do not encourage circulation. This is why in hospitals even those that do have to stay in bed a lot are given bars and other devices so they can get some exercise regardless of their mobility. If you are in significant pain, you may want to have brief periods of activity and then some bed rest. The important thing is to get moving as fast as you can without re-injuring yourself.
Those that get frequent exercise are far less likely to suffer from back and bone issues. Just a 20-minute workout each day can make a big improvement in the health of your back. If you are new to getting much exercise, then start with stretches and light, low impact aerobics or weight lifting. As you increase your level of fitness, you can up the intensity and even the duration of your workout. There are some exercise routines out there that are specifically designed for improving back issues. Your doctor or a personal trainer can offer tips and suggestions for you based on your medical history, age, and other factors. Sometimes finding a workout partner can make sticking to a fitness routine a lot more enjoyable and easier to accomplish. Changing your routine some throughout the week allows for some excitement, so you don’t get bored and start skipping exercise times. Make sure to have a workout plan for times when the weather is bad as well. A few pieces of equipment at your home or a gym membership will encourage your fitness success.
It is important to start weight training only after you are sure that you are strong enough. A recent back injury may be too soon to get started. When you are feeling up to it, start with a reasonable amount of weight, say 5-10 lbs in each arm. It is important not to try to lift too much weight at the beginning of training. Those that lift too much initially are risking reinjury and further strains and sprains. A good weight training regime builds your strength gradually and can improve bone density, thus helping prevent osteoporosis and other bone issues as well as strengthening you core and back muscles. Lifting weights can help prevent further injuries because you will have a more toned back that is better able to handle extra stresses. Exercising also adds flexibility, so strains don’t occur as readily. It can be helpful to plan out a routine to gradually add more weight or repetitions. This gives you guidelines, so you are not tempted to take on too much too soon.
The Zen Of Yoga
The art of yoga involves holding the body in various positions and the use of many different stretches. There are many different health benefits of yoga. One thing that people are discovering is that it can help your back heal and prevent reinjury. Yoga increases strength and flexibility. Yoga can help you deal with stress from daily life and the pain you are dealing with. Yoga is low impact and can be done using a small mat at home. If you are new to yoga, it is best to take a class to get proper instruction. Taking a class encourages success because you have the time set aside and are expected to be there. If you are just exercising at home, it can be easy to delay yoga time and thus not accomplish anything. Videos and books can help you learn the art of yoga and practice it outside of the yoga studio.
Good Posture Habits
The type of chair you sit in, your car seat and more may affect your back health more than you might think. Sitting up straight at the offices keeps your spine straight and reduces back pain. Make sure that you have an office chair that is right for your body type. If your employer is decent, they will accommodate you. Chairs that offer adjustable heights and supportive backs are essential for those that work in an office. Using your legs to lift instead of your back can significantly reduce injuries. If something is too bulky or heavy always ask for help or use something like a hand truck to make the job manageable without causing serious damage to your back. Walking during breaks can increase circulation and help you stretch out muscles, so you are less sore and fatigued throughout the day.
While many may still look at acupuncture as strange, studies show that it does work to help improve back pain. The system used pressure points in the body. There are more and more practicing acupuncturists but always make sure you are going to a trusted and licensed practitioner. It is a very affordable treatment, but since formal medical science has a hard time explaining just how and why it works, your doctor may not be as excited about this treatment option as you are. Of course, if you have a fear of needles then this is not a good option. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that acupuncture is not reported to be painful at all. Needs used are very small and are placed shallowly.
One of the most time-tested back treatments in massage. Having a professional massage has been shown to decrease or eliminate a lot of back pain. This is a particularly good technique for those that have a high level of stress or anxiety that contributes to their back pain. Massage is an easy treatment to get, and you can even combine it with other spa services that can help with pain and stress. There are various types of massage so your masseur may recommend different types at different stages of your treatment. The per hour cost of massage may seem high, but when compared to alternatives it is one of the least expensive major ways to heal and treat a back injury.
Hot and Cold Packs
The application of hot or cold compresses is very helpful to some people. If you want a mobile solution, you can use a special belt that wraps around your back and provides support as well as a spot for a heat or cold pack. Modern day medical apparatuses are easier to hide under clothing if necessary during the work day. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice on heat and cold treatments. Too much of a good thing could cause other issues. Generally speaking, a heating pad should only be used for 15-20 minutes at a time. Heat wraps available at drug stores are disposable and a good option for occasional pain and discomfort.
Those with chronic back pain are often prescribed muscle relaxants, anxiety medications, anti-inflammatories, or narcotic painkillers. If you can find another way to deal with your back issues you should. Prescription medications can have side effects, can cost a lot, and they have the potential for abuse and addiction. When taking a prescription, it is important not to let it make you so comfortable that you go out and reinjure your back because you feel well. Medications can reduce inflammation, but they can also mask the true problem thus causing more injury. Over the counter medications are often enough to help minor back pain and injuries.
Lotions and Ointments
Muscle rubs have been around a long time and do offer a lot of relief for those suffering from back pain. The downside of lotions is that they sometimes have an unappealing odor or simply are not strong enough to offer relief for very severe pain. Always read ointment directions because some may have ingredients you are sensitive to or should not be used if you are already using a product that contains the active ingredient. If any skin irritations appear, then stop using and consult your doctor.
When your spinal alignment is off it can be very hard to get it right again without the help of someone specialized. A chiropractor is a trained medical professional that can evaluate your back and spine issues and prescribe a treatment plan to reduce spine and back stress. Sometimes this type of care is all that is needed to treat your back pain entirely although your chiropractor might prescribe medication temporarily to increase the ability of your muscles to relax and hasten recovery. Going to a chiropractor can save you from back surgeries and other invasive and extensive treatments. A chiropractor will help you develop an exercise routine that allows you to gain better levels of strength and flexibility.
Take Time To Relax
When you are stressed then, the muscles in your back can become very tense and prone to strains and sprains. The effect has an impact throughout your life. Stress and chronic pain have a long standing relationship. It is important to find time to relax and unwind on a daily basis. Feeling burned out and tired all the time feeds stress and back pain. Relaxation techniques vary based on the individual. Yoga, relaxing music, drawing, painting, or any other hobby can be a big stress reliever. If you have young kids, then perhaps you and a friend can do a childcare swap occasionally, so you each have some time just for you. If you feel that you absolutely cannot find a few minutes than you need to evaluate what you can do to relieve your workload because one person is only capable of so much without severe burnout occurring.
Reduce Your Weight
The more extra pounds you are carrying around the harder, it is on your back and spine. Losing weight is not something that just happens overnight like all the fad diets and infommercials would like you to believe. True weight loss and fitness take time and should be done at a healthy pace to be able to maintain results. Body Mass Index charts are the guidelines many go by, but they do not take into account some physical differences than can make a healthy weight be far more different for one person of the same height than another. Your doctor or a nutritionist can help you determine a healthy weight range and a plan to achieve it. Every pound counts so even a small 5 lb weight loss can help your back stay in better shape.
For those that want to avoid prescription medications, there are some homeopathic supplements. Vitamin D deficiency has been attributed to back pain. Some studies show that turmeric can help as well. There are homeopathic compounding pharmacies that can mix a supplement specifically for you, or you can buy one that is designed to reduce inflammation and muscle pain. Make sure to read information on supplements well so you can be aware if there is a change of interactions with any supplement or medication you are already taking. Supplements that contain gelatin and glucosamine can offer some relief due to inflammation.
Hot water swirling and long soaks can help relax back muscles and ease away the stress that can cause further back pain. There are jets that you can buy and attach to your tub if you want the effect of a Jacuzzi without the investment in a new tub. Exercises such as swimming, water polo, and others can increase your strength and flexibility. Membership at a gym or fitness center can give you access to whirlpools and aquatic sports at a reasonable cost. If you have some medical conditions, your doctor may want you to limit how much you use these techniques. Pregnant women should avoid hot tubs and other prolonged heat, so this is not a good choice for pregnancy-related back pain.
Steroid injections are sometimes used to treat back pain. Anesthetics and anti-inflammatory injections can also help. It is important to consider the time, expense, and side effects of these injections. Steroids can promote mood changes and even reduce your immune system. Talking to a doctor can help you decide if the benefits outweigh the risks for your particular situation. Talking to others that have used injections for treatment can help give you a better idea of what to expect. The internet has many different forums and support groups for back pain sufferers. While these forums should not be used in place of a doctor’s advice, it can help when you are exploring treatment options.
If all else fails or you want a solution that has nothing to do with medication, then surgery may be the only option available. Your general doctor may send you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment options. Surgery for back pain can have mixed results so you need to research and be aware of what you can realistically expect. Insurance may cover some or all of your surgery, but you want to make sure that you are aware of just how much of a financial burden surgery will be versus the level of results that can be expected.
If you spend a lot of time lifting or bending and twisting, then wearing a back brace can be helpful in reducing back pain and the odds of reinjuring your back. Corsets and other supportive garments are used by some that want to improve posture and need some reinforcement or reminder to set straight. Good back habits can be hard to get into if you have developed bad ones. Your doctor or chiropractor can help you decide what type of brace is right and will even make sure it is adjusted properly. A basic back brace can be bought at any drug store and can be useful for occasional support or of you get a slight sprain or strain.
Change Your Diet
Foods rich in resveratrol such as red wine or muscadine grapes can help your back stay strong by preventing spinal disc degeneration that can come with use and age alike. Resveratrol is available in pill form if you think that would work better for your lifestyle. Resveratrol can help rebuild tissue and cells so your body feels rejuvenated and you have more energy. Cutting down on carbohydrates and lots of sugar can help you stay at a healthier weight and reduce the odds of blood sugar spikes that can make you feel bad.
Replace Your Shoes
Good shoes don’t come cheap, but they can affect the health of your back. If you are wearing ill fitting or older shoes, then you probably are not getting the support you need to get through the day without pain or soreness. Even the best shoes over time lose support and strength. You can get more use out of your shoes by using a set of high-quality insoles. If one of your feet is larger or you have problems with your arches, your doctor may prescribe special insoles to correct the way you stand and reduce strain on your back and spine.