Many people suffer back pain at some time or other. Usually, with short periods of rest and painkillers for acute pain, then gentle exercise and movement for any kind of back pain, the problem will right itself quite quickly. There are more working days lost through back pain than from any other illness. As always, prevention is better than cure, so looking at ways to stop back pain happening might be a good first step.
1. Support your Back: Whether sitting at home or work, or in your car, always have the small of your back supported. You can put backrests in the car, a rolled cushion at your back while sitting, and another good idea is to have a supportive mattress on the bed.
2. Stand Tall: Good posture helps prevent back pain. If you can strengthen your abdominal muscles, even sucking in your stomach while standing and walking, this will help the spine to stay in alignment.
3. Relax and Swim: Swimming is a great exercise for easing tension and building overall muscle strength. The water supports the body and the stretching during swimming takes the pressure off the spine.
4. Stay Slim: Yes, carrying too much weight puts pressure on the whole skeleton, whether that weight is on the body or something you pick up and carry. If you do need to lose a few pounds and you suffer from back pain, then taking off those pounds, with the help of a healthy diet and some gentle exercise, is going to make your back feel a whole lot better.
When pain strikes, there are simple ways to ease back pain that will hopefully bring relief. Here are some ideas:
1. Stand Up and Stretch: Put your feet slightly apart, your hands at the small of your back, thumbs facing forward. Keep your knees straight then bend backwards from the waist. Hold for a few seconds then straighten up and repeat. But each time you repeat this, try to bend further backwards. You can get down on the floor and use a sort of push-up position, arching your back. Repeat the exercises about 5-10 times, and about four times daily. These and other helpful stretching exercises can be found on the Robin McKenzie website.
2. Breathe and Relax: Muscle tension often comes from stress and that will lead to back pain. Take a few minutes to sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place and breathe in and out, slowly and deeply. As you exhale, visualize the pain being expelled. Think of a beautiful scene or a pleasant image and take care to color in all the details. This will take your mind off the pain, ease the tension and help your back.
3. Take A Pill: If your overall health allows it, take anti-inflammatory medication. This should kick in and begin to ease back pain after about 10 minutes. St. John’s Wort, taken on a daily basis, is a good way to help with nervous tension, but check with your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you are taking other regular conventional medication. Natural remedies may not suit everyone, so it is best to check first.
4. Sleep with a Fat Friend: This particular fat friend is a fat pillow or cushion, which, when placed under the knees in bed really does ease back pain. This tip was given to me by a professional physiotherapist and is the best and most effective advice I have had in a long time. A fat pillow between the knees, when lying on your side, eases pressure on the spine and is a great help for back pain. It is also good for those last, uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy.
None of these suggestions are difficult to put into practice, nor do they cost much. You might want to consider other methods, such as yoga, massage, acupuncture or visiting an osteopath or chiropractor. Hopefully you now have some ideas of effective, simple ways to ease back pain.