Our backs are part of the core of our body, and when our back is hurting, it can stop us from working and enjoying life. For years, I have suffered from back pain. Not surprisingly, us back pain sufferers are not alone. According to the Health Policy Institute of Georgetown University, 16 million Americans suffer from chronic back pain. Whether you are suffering from degenerative disc disease like me or from a pulled back muscle, poor posture, osteoarthritis, or a minor back injury, the following are sure to help in your recovery and future back pain prevention.
To Keep joints and muscles from tightening up, you must move regularly. Try to get up and move around at least every 30 minutes. When working or performing stationary activities, don’t stay in the same position too long especially when bending such as when gardening or doing housework.
Poor posture is one of the primary causes of neck and back pain. When seated, focus on keeping your back straight, shoulders back and head up. When standing, do the same but also keep your pelvis and hips aligned as well. If it feels like you are arching your back, push your pelvis forward slightly for the perfect standing posture.
You’ve heard it over and over, and there is a reason for that. Daily exercise does so much for our body and mind. Walking daily increases the benefits of moving regularly. Weight-bearing exercises help improve muscles, increase bone density and lubricate joints.
Drinking plenty of water helps flush out lactic acid from your muscles. It also helps support our muscles and aids in your body’s ability to create synovial fluid which lubricates your joints.
Inflammation is what usually causes us to feel pain, so obviously, if we reduce inflammation, we can reduce our pain. The easiest way to reduce inflammation is by altering our diet. Staying away from foods containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup and simple carbohydrates helps. Consuming more fruits, vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown to decrease inflammation. There are several supplements on the market that help as well.
Along with moving regularly, stretching helps keep your muscles and ligaments loose and flexible. After an injury or sitting/laying for long periods of time, our muscles tighten. Regular stretching can relieve this tightness and prevent it in the future. Stretching properly is the key to success. One device I found helpful for effective, safe stretching is the CoreStretch® by Medi-Dyne®. The CoreStretch keeps your back in the proper position for stretching and can engage the hips and legs which help support the muscles in the back. For best results to relieve back pain, stretch two to three times daily. To prevent future back pain, stretch once daily.
What I found most helpful in keeping my back pain at bay is getting plenty of rest. While it is recommended to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, even more, beneficial is uninterrupted sleep. Do you toss and turn at night because you are not comfortable? If so, this could be some of the cause of your pain. For a relaxing night sleep and one that helps repair our bodies, you must have a supportive mattress and pillow. Thankfully, there are options available for all budgets.
While I am not a medical professional, I am experienced in back pain. Incorporating these steps in my day to day life has allowed me to live mostly free from back pain. What once stopped me from completing tasks like working in my yard to playing with my grandchildren, no longer has a hold on me.
By Jeanette Driskill, otherwise known as Nana.
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PLEASE NOTE: The information on this website and article is for information only and should not be used as a substitute for consulting your doctor. Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and rehabilitation.