Back pain is extremely common. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association, about 80% of people will experience back pain at some point during their life.
While a lot of back pain episodes resolve themselves within a month or two, this discomfort can still cause you to miss work or much-needed sleep.
Here are ten back pain remedies that will help ease the pain.
1. Hot and Cold
When the back pain first sets in, grab an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas for the first two days. Use it for 20 minutes at a time, several times each day. After the first two days, switch your 20-minute intervals to a heating pad.
According to Prevention Magazine, using cooling locally can help to shut down the capillaries and reduce the blood flow to the area of the back that is in pain. This helps to reduce swelling and stop your nerves’ ability to send pain signals.
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Heat then loosens the tight muscles and increases the blood flow in the area, which brings extra oxygen to the muscle.
2. Check Out Your Feet
A lot of back pain begins in your posture. According to SpineHealth, correct posture is an easy but critical way to maintain the intricate bone structures in the back and keep them healthy.
Good posture is more than cosmetic, it is critical to reducing the incidence of back pain, especially for people who spend much of the day standing without a break or sitting in an office chair.
Correcting your feet with orthotics can help to reduce the pressure on your feet and ease back pain.
3. Get a Massage
The good thing about having back pain is that it is a legitimate excuse to get a massage on a regular basis. Studies have shown that people who get massages have less pain and a lower chance of disability due to back pain after 10 weeks, compared to others who do not.
Additionally, osteopathic and chiropractic therapy have both shown to be effective in stretching out joints and muscles. The manual work on muscles and joints can certainly help to loosen them up and reduce back pain.
The number one reason that people seek out acupuncture is to relieve their back pain. Acupuncture may actually provide more relief for back pain than painkillers. Acupuncture needles are known to change the way the nerves react to different signals, and it may actually reduce inflammation around the joints.
Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into certain points of the body. Chinese medicine claims that the body has over 2,000 acupoints that can be manipulated to increase one’s health.
These points are connected by meridians that conduct energy. Acupuncture stimulates these points to correct any imbalances of energy and improve overall health.
Exercise, even if it is mild, releases endorphins. These hormones are made naturally in the body and can act just as strong as a manufactured pain pill. According to SpineHealth, when endorphins are released, they block many of the pain signals from reaching the brain.
Endorphins can also help relieve back pain by eliminating anxiety, tension, stress, and depression. Not only are these things associated with back pain, but they often make it worse.
6. Strengthen Your Core
A lot of people who suffer from chronic back pain would greatly benefit from having stronger abdominal muscles. If the muscles in the torso are weak, it requires other areas of the body to pick up the slack. However, when the torso muscles are strong, there is less strain on the lower back.
The bones in the spine support the frame of the body and the back. Everything is connected to this frame, including the muscles that increase the strength of the spine, arms, and legs.
The abdominal muscles are also a key component of this network of muscles, as they provide the strength that is needed to keep the body upright. When the abdominal muscles are weak, the spine is then used to support the body, and developing pain is more likely.
7. Improve Your Flexibility
When your muscles are too tense or tight, back pain may occur. If you are able to increase your flexibility, you can put an equal amount of pressure throughout your body, starting at your feet and moving all the way up to your head.
According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the easiest way to determine if your lack of flexibility is causing your back pain is to sit in a chair with one leg crossed over the other and lean forward.
If this movement causes pain, it is very likely that you can treat some of your back pain by increasing your muscle flexibility.
Do this stretch with both legs to see if you can feel a difference on each side. If you can, it indicates that the muscles on the painful side likely need more stretching.
8. Think Ergonomically
Design your work area in a way so you are never hunching forward to look at your computer screen or reaching far away for your mouse. Make sure that your desk chair supports your lower back and lets you keep your feet flat on the floor.
Also, make sure to rotate from standing up and sitting down throughout the day. Take several brief walks to break up your long sessions of sitting.
9. Stop Smoking
Smoking can actually increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as other bone health problems. Osteoporosis can then lead to back pain through compression fractures in the spine.
Recent research actually shows a strong link between lower back pain and smoking, as well as some of the causes of degenerative lower spine problems that are linked to smoking.
There are many reasons that it is beneficial to your overall health to stop smoking, and relieving back pain is only one of them. Here is a video of more information about how smoking can affect your bones.
10. Physical Therapy
Going to physical therapy can teach you how to properly sit, move, and stand to help your back keep its proper alignment. This will take pressure off of your back muscles.
A physical therapist will also teach you some stretches and exercises to help strengthen the muscles needed to keep back pain at bay. With a strong support structure, you are less likely to experience any future back pain.
If you are unable to find relief from stretching on your own, go see a physical therapist for some professional tips on how to relieve your pain.
Ease Your Lower Back Pain Problems With These Remedies
You will probably experience back pain at some point in your life and there are several ways to help relieve it until it goes away. Try to maintain proper back health in order to reduce your chances of experiencing back pain.
When you are feeling pain, try some of these tricks to help relieve it and reduce the chances of it returning in the future. If one trick does not work for you, try another until you find something that helps.
There is usually an avoidable cause of back pain, so do some trial and error to figure out what is at the root of your pain.