Keep Back Pain at Bay
Back pain can ache, shoot or stab. It can feel sharp and focused, or dull and radiating. It can be acute or chronic, and it can limit your mobility to the point of daily discomfort. This all-too-common complaint, however, doesn’t have to limit your quality of life. Follow our tips for prevention and our home remedies to get you, well, back to feeling like yourself.
Prevention through healthy living
The most important thing you can do to protect against back pain is lead an active, healthy life. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), unhealthy lifestyles factors like poor physical fitness, being overweight and smoking all increase your risk for back pain. To improve your physical fitness, create a regular exercise regime. In addition to cardio routines like running, swimming or cycling, add a light weight-lifting component. Moves like seated rows, deadlifts and barbell shrugs will strengthen your back muscles, but don’t overlook the rest of your body. Strengthening the core and the legs will also help prevent back pain.
Home remedies, exercises and more
Alternating hot and cold packs can help with back pain management. Begin with ice, which will reduce inflammation, then use heat, which will ease aches.
Stress is linked to backachespain, as well as poor sleep, so creating a calming environment at night can have a positive effect for those suffering from back pain. Consider meditating, reading, taking a warm bath or spending time with a pet.
Invest in a firm, comfortable mattress. You may find that sleeping with a pillow between your knees can relieve back pressure, too. When you first wake up, skip the temptation to jump out of bed and into your morning routine. Set your alarm just five minutes earlier to give yourself a little time to stretch in bed. Try tucking your knees into your chest and gently rocking left to right, then slowly extending your legs, sitting up and reaching your hands to your toes.
When to call the doctor
The causes of back pain vary in nature and severity. Your back pain may be caused by injury, infection, stress, pregnancy, osteoporosis, herniated discs, spinal column damage, or something else. How do you know when to put aside the ice packs and call the doctor instead? Pay attention to your symptoms. The NIH identifies the following reasons to call your doctor:
- Numbness or tingling
- Severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest
- Pain after a fall or injury
- Pain in addition to any of the following: trouble urinating, weakness, numbness in the legs, fever or weight loss
Don’t ignore these warning signs. Schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.