Back to Basics: Managing Back Pain at Home
Perhaps it was caused by the way you slept last night or bending down to pick up one of your kids’ toys, but whatever the case, back pain can be a nightmare to deal with. And worst of all, it can be hard to shake and leaves you struggling for days on end. The things about back pain is that most people will suffer from it at some point during their lives, and it is more likely to strike as you get older. Of course, in some situations, it is serious and you need to go and see a specialist. But in this article, we are going to be talking about dealing with the kind of mild and annoying pain that can strike, giving you a few of the solutions which you can use from your own home.
Keep Your Cool
During the first hours after an injury, ice is a good solution as it helps to reduce inflammation. Though it may not feel as good as applying some sort of warm compress, heat can actually inflame the injury. So, during the first 48 hours after the injury has occurred, you should try to stick to ice. You can make the switch to heat after this as this is a good way of relaxing your muscles. Whenever you are applying a cold or hot substance to your skin, you should limit application to around 20 minutes at a time.
Move on Up
Like the rest of our bodies, our spines were designed to be kept moving throughout the day. As best you can, you should try to continue with your daily routine taking the kids to school, going to work, looking after the house etc. You don’t need to try anything too strenuous in the first days after an injury has occurred, but over time, you should hopefully be able to build some regular aerobic exercises back into your routine once again. Swimming and walking shouldn’t put too much strain on your back. There is no need to push yourself too hard, but this simple act of moving on a regular basis can make all the difference.
Once your lower back pain has begun to subside, you will want to take some steps that help to prevent this from happening in the future. One of the best ways of doing this is by building up the muscles that support your lower back. For example, the back exterior muscles play a big role in maintaining correct posture and spine alignment. A few of the other sets of muscles that are worth strengthening include the hip, pelvic and abdominal sets. However, be careful with exercises which can put strain on your back once again such as sit-ups.
Unfortunately, many of us live very sedentary lifestyles these days that revolve around hunching over at a desk all day long and going home to slump in from of the TV. So, if you work in an office job, you need to make a special effort to get up from your desk on a regular basis. Since you are likely to be spending a lot of time leaning forward, getting up to stretch backwards can help to prevent further damage from occurring. A lot of people find that the best relief from their back pain comes with a regular stretching routine such as yoga.
A few simple changes to your environment can really help you in your day to day life in avoiding pain. Let’s take your desk as a starting point. When you are positioning your computer, it the top of the monitor should be at eye-level at a distance that means you are not constantly having to lean forwards to see it better. Next, check out your desk chair. Is it giving the support to your lower back that you need? Once you have the right chair, you need to adjust it to a height that allows you to keep your feet firmly placed on the floor.
Maintain Good Posture
Throughout the day, you should try to maintain good posture whenever you can and be particularly careful when you are undertaking activities which could affect it. For example, whenever you need to lift any kind any kind of object, avoid bending over from the waist. Instead, you should bend and straighten up from the knees. When you have little kids, you should try to get down to their level as much as possible rather than constantly bending over to get down to them.
Avoid High Heels
High heels make it much more difficult for you to maintain a good posture, as well as increasing the pressure on your lower spine. So, you should exchange them for flats when your back is hurting. Even when your back is feeling fine, you should limit your time wearing high heels. If you feel like you don’t always want to be wearing flats, you could instead go for low heels to avoid putting undue pressure on your spine.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
So many common health issues can be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight, and lower back issues are certainly amongst them. If you are overweight, this can end up putting additional strain on your spine. Of course, there are many different ways out there of maintaining your weight, and most of these revolve around diet and exercise. In fact, exercise can be doubly beneficial as it helps to release the hormones which are naturally made in your body. When they are released, they play a part in blocking pain signals from registering with your brain. And they also have the benefit of helping to alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, so there are plenty of reasons out there to get moving.
Pain is one of the leading causes of insomnia, and you may find it very difficult to get the restorative sleep that you need when you are suffering from a bad back. This is particularly unfortunate as poor sleep can then lead to your pain getting worse. If you find that you are having this issue, check out this guide from ReVITALize Rehab Club about how to sleep with lower back pain. Once you do manage to drift off and get a full night’s sleep, you will find that this does you the power of good. And while you may be tempted to stay in bed for longer than you need to, an excessive amount of bed rest can have the opposite effect that the one you were going for as you are not giving your muscles the exercise that they need.
Don’t Always Wear a Brace
While it may be tempting to wear a back brace all the time to ease the strain on your muscles, you should limit how long you wear it for. If you keep it on all day long, your muscles will start to weaken and you will have a reduced amount of core strength. So, try to keep it on for no more than 20 minutes at a time to provide you with the temporary sense of relief that you are looking for.
Another one to add to the myriad of reasons why you should stop smoking, lighting up can end up damaging your back as well as the other well-documented internal parts of your body. In fact, nicotine can cause small blood vessels to constrict which then decreases the amount of blood that is delivered to soft tissue. So, if you are still a smoker and you are suffering from back pain, now is the time to quit.
Find Activities that Make You Happy
Ongoing pain can be extremely damaging when it comes to your enjoyment of life, affecting a whole host of areas including work, family, sleep, and your mood in general. So, any activities that you can engage in that provide you with some happiness can be very beneficial. It could be speaking to an old friend on the phone, walking the dog or enjoying a family dinner. It may even be something as simple as having a nice cup of coffee. Keeping this sense of enjoyment in life can really make all the difference to your general sense of wellbeing.
Back pain is something that can strike any of us at any time, and you need to be taking steps to alleviate it in the best way that you can. The advice listed above has proven to be beneficial for sufferers, so try out the different techniques in various combinations until you find something that works for you. Of course, in more serious situations where the pain is not getting any better, you should consult with an expert to help deal with the issue. But there are always going to be simple lifestyle changes that you can make yourself which will help your back return to peak condition.