Back pain is a common problem that affects an estimated 16 million Americans, 8% of the total adult population, to a degree where they are restricted in their everyday activities by it. There are also, unfortunately, no steadfast or instant cures for it. Painkillers only mask the problem, and surgery is invasive and often doesn’t guarantee that the patient will be pain-free when it’s done.
The best way to treat back pain is to implement (and stick to) several lifestyle changes that build up the muscles and provide relief over time. It won’t be quick, but it will be worth it. Here are our top four ways to start treating your back pain today.
Getting moving is the first step. Your back might be screaming for you to stop, but it’s important to start small and keep going. Becoming sedentary is the worst thing you can do.
Gentle stretches, yoga, or even just walking around the block every day will deliver improvements to your pain before you know it. Swimming is also great as it allows you to feel ‘weightless’ for a while, and even slow and gentle swimming works out practically all of your body’s muscles.
2. Home Adjustments
If you’re serious about banishing back pain, you might need to invest some money into your home. A good quality mattress and pillows are essential since we spend so much time in bed. If they’re not supportive, you could be harming your back.
Then, look at the chairs you use every day — are they good for your back? If your sofa is sagging, it may need an upgrade. If you don’t have a proper computer chair, get one. Look at your hobbies — if you’re a drummer, treat yourself to the most comfortable drum throne. All this will have you sleeping sounder and sitting taller with your back in proper alignment.
3. Improve Your Posture
Step #2 above will help with this, but when you’re not sitting or lying down, it’s important to actively work on improving your posture. Put your shoulders back, chin up, and stand up straight — don’t slouch. Does this feel unnatural to you? If it does, your posture needs work.
Some more tips for keeping a good posture are…
- Stand with your feet at the same width as your shoulders.
- When standing for a long time, shift your weight from one foot to the other, and alternate putting pressure on your heels and toes.
- Pull in your stomach.
Pain can get you down, but being down can also cause physical pain. Tension, stress, and anxiety are all causes of back pain. While they may not be the root of your pain, they may be exacerbating it.
Relaxation, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can all help you ease stress and tension, but you might need to go further than that. Speaking to a therapist might lift a weight off of your shoulders if there’s anything on your mind.
Exercise, especially when done outside, is also known to be an extremely effective stress-buster and back pain-reliever when practiced regularly, so make sure you keep that up too.
The Bottom Line
Back pain can be debilitating. You might want to stay inside and rest all the time, but that will only make the problem worse. Becoming more active, standing taller, and investing in home adjustments and therapy could be the magic combination for reducing your back pain.
Implement some of our tips today and see yourself enjoying your life like you couldn’t before.