Living with back pain and not being able to do anything about it can feel defeating. It’s easy to underestimate how age-related wear and tear on your spine can impact your life. After all, your spine is integral to everything you do. You use your spine each and every day to support the majority of your body weight while also making basic movement possible.
If you are experiencing back pain, here are 4 ways that you can take action now to help:
Reduce Your Stress
When you think about stress, most people tend to focus on the emotional and even psychological impacts it can have. But stress can also manifest in your physical health. Have you ever experienced soreness during times of stress? Prolonged stress can result in tension and muscle straining in your neck, shoulders, and back. This mechanical pain can result from abnormal strain and/or tightening of the muscles along your vertebral column.
Finding ways to reduce your stress can help improve your back pain quickly. Common methods to reduce stress include:
- Exercise or take a walk
- Take a break to breathe deeply
- Meditation & Yoga
- Try aromatherapy
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation
Check Your Sitting Posture
Our bodies were not designed to sit all day. We used to be a primarily “stand up species.” Now, everywhere we go there is an invitation to sit. And that’s ok. But we need to sit correctly to keep our highly-evolved bodies functioning pain free.
A journal article using National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey data found that one in four adults surveyed reported sitting for over 8 hours per day. The slumping, slouching, and poor posture of sitting all day long aggravates the alignment of our spine. Take a moment to assess your posture. If you are experiencing back pain from sitting too long with poor posture, you can take action to alleviate that pain right away with a few key basics: tactics:
- Sit tall, hold your head straight, tuck in your chin
- Sit all the way back in your chair
- Consider a lumbar cushion
- Bend your knees so they are at the same height as your hips
- Place your feet flat on the floor
- Watch out for text neck
Moving around when you are already in pain may seem like an uphill battle but even just getting up to take a walk can do wonders for your back pain. Movement, such as walking or stretching can loosen the tense muscles that are causing your back pain and reduce stress (see above). In fact, regular exercise can help to prevent future back pain by adding stability to your spine while increasing flexibility.
Even light activity can strengthen your core and back muscles while promoting circulation for joint health. Here are a few common methods to get your body moving to reduce your back pain quickly:
- Stretching regimen
- Brisk or slow walk
- Strength conditioning
- Low impact exercise
Hot and Cold Treatment
There are many aches and pains that can be greatly improved by a simple, yet underestimated approach: heat and cold treatment.
Applying a heat treatment, such as a heating pad, to tense, stiff muscles can release the tension and ease the ‘pull’ from stiff muscles on nearby tendons and bone. Heat can be helpful when you have been sitting in the same position for too long and your muscles have tensed up from lack of use or movement. Be careful with the temperature of your heating pad and don’t apply it directly to your skin.
Applying a cold treatment, such as an ice pack, to a muscle strain can help to reduce inflammation. Ice is a great solution for acute pain such as a low back strain after picking up a heavy object or twisting your spine in a rough manner. In most situations, you want to try to limit your cold treatment to 20 minutes or less.
When to See a Doctor for Your Back Pain
Depending on the cause, duration, and severity, home remedies like these may be all you need to reduce your back pain to a manageable state or alleviate it all together. But if your pain persists or worsens, it may be time to get help from the back pain experts at Oasis Orthopedic & Spine.
Our spine specialists located are thoroughly trained in the various methods of reducing pain and discomfort in patients encountering many different problems. Complete our pain assessment tool below to get a head start on diagnosing your back pain.
Oasis Orthopedic & Spine offers telehealth appointments in addition to in-person appointments.
We are dedicated to your safety during COVID-19 and are actively practicing the COVID-19 Safe Care Protocols at all of our locations so you can find the pain relief you deserve.