6 Tips for Alleviating Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem, affecting nearly 540 million people (or 1 in 10) worldwide! The reduction of everyday physical activity and rapid rise in global obesity have combined with normal wear and tear (i.e., aging) issues, injury and disease to make back pain a very real and very debilitating condition for a lot of the world’s population. Fortunately, there are ways to help minimize your risk for back pain, as well as treat it if it occurs. Take a look at these six tips for preventing and alleviating back pain:
While you might think exercising contributes to back pain, it actually helps prevent it (when done correctly). Moving the body conditions it, strengthening muscles so that your body is better able to deal with stress and less likely to become injured.
Get Enough Sleep
Similarly, a good night’s rest helps your body repair and reenergize itself, preparing it to function normally the next day. Getting at least eight hours of sleep will allow your back the time it needs to regulate its cellular processes so that inflammation is reduced and pain is less likely to develop.
Stand Up Straight
Make it a point to maintain good posture so that your muscles don’t get overtired trying to balance your body and your spinal discs remain aligned, preventing them from slipping out of place, tearing or rupturing (which would inevitably lead to pain).
Medication can be a quick fix when back pain initially sets in. Check with a doctor to see if any over-the-counter pain medications (such as NSAIDS or acetaminophen) or even a prescription medication would work to ease your pain.
Use Ice and/or Heat Treatments
Studies indicate that applying ice to painful areas of the body helps reduce swelling and inflammation by constricting the supply of blood flowing to them. Ice therapy is especially helpful for acute back injuries where the body needs to mitigate a strong immune response so that pain is controlled and doesn’t worsen. The application of a heating pad, on the other hand, relaxes muscles, dilates blood vessels and, thus, increases blood flow, allowing natural repair processes within the body to begin to work. This type of therapy is better used for chronic back pain, loosening stiff muscles and joints so that further injury is avoided.
Consider Alternative Therapies
There are many other types of therapies that have been clinically proven to diminish pain, particularly back pain. Many back pain sufferers use massage therapy to relax muscles; acupuncture or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to stimulate nerve response; stem cell treatments (such as those offered at medical clinics like ThriveMD) to repair and regenerate damaged tissue; steroid medication to relieve inflammation; and even psychological counseling and/or biofeedback training to reprogram pain response. The good news is you don’t have to suffer with back pain. There are options!