Back pain can be anywhere from mild and sporadic to chronic and nagging. Regardless of the type, it is one of the leading reasons why people visit a doctor and take the day off from work. Back pain can affect just about everything from the simplest of activities to the most strenuous.
The causes of back pain can range from poor posture to degenerative disc disease—and everything in between. Northamericanspine.com says most initial episodes of acute back pain will resolve themselves given time and rest. There are several simple treatment options you can try before the pain gets to that degree, but in severe cases surgery may the only choice.
The right treatment will depend on the specific type of back pain you are experiencing and where your pain is located. Your genetics, medical history and other health conditions (such as a recent injury or illness) are also important factors in your treatment plan. Before your pain gets too intense, or preferably even before you experience back pain, take into account some easy ways to alleviate or prevent this common issue.
The easiest and most inexpensive way to help stave off back pain is to participate in exercise programs aimed at strengthening the lower back or “lumbar” region. This area supports the majority of your weight, and most people tend to experience pain in this section of their back. It’s also important to strengthen your abdominal muscles to help relieve some of the pressure on your back. Stretching and staying active will help keep your muscles from tightening up and will increase circulation through your spine. You can perform simple exercises, like mini-crunches and certain yoga positions at home, as they don’t require any special equipment. In the event you have more serious back issues, a doctor might recommend you see a physical therapist who can help pinpoint specific exercises to target problem areas.
Find the right bed
Once you start experiencing back pain, there’s a good chance your sleep will be affected. The back pain experts at Northamericanspine.com explain that when you sleep, you’re more susceptible to suffering from some serious discomfort from a bed that does not provide enough support. Their recommendation: Find a mattress that is not too hard and not too soft to eliminate the chance of putting too much strain on your lower back.
You might be surprised, but proper nutrition and healthy eating are essential to preventing back pain. By making sure your body gets the nutrients and vitamins it needs, your bones, muscles and other components of the spine are more likely to be strong enough to do their job and support your back. For example, calcium plays an important role in spinal health. In addition to milk, other good sources of calcium include spinach, oranges, salmon and peanuts.
Improve your posture
Ergonomics can be an important factor in keeping your back pain free. Think about how much time you spend in front of a computer or sitting at a desk. If your keyboard and chair are not properly adjusted, you’re asking for back problems. That “perfect adjustment” means that your:
- Elbows bent at a 90o angle
- Spine is straight
- Shoulders, back and buttocks are touching the back of your chair
- Weight is evenly distributed on your hips to ensure you’re not leaning or favoring one side more than the other
It’s also best to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.