Low back pain is extremely common, with nearly 80% of Americans experiencing a back problems during their lifetime. In fact, back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause for missed work days. Why do so many people suffer from an aching lower back? More to the point, how can this pain be alleviated?
Back pain can have a number of different causes. It can be the result of injury, accident, heavy lifting, or even something as seemingly harmless as gardening or housework. Regardless of the cause, there are a few things to remember about treating your back pain.
- Should you go to bed? It may seem counterintuitive, but evidence indicates that people with low back pain feel worse if they rest more. If you’re suffering from lower back pain, it’s best to get moving and avoid resting for more than three days. Even something as simple as walking can help put your body in a neutral upright position, ultimately alleviating pain. Don’t get carried away, though: strenuous activity can worsen the problem.
- When you do rest, do it correctly. A bad sleeping position can cause back pain, so make sure you sleep on a supportive mattress, in a position that keeps your spine in a neutral position. Back sleepers should sleep with pillows under their knees, side sleepers should put pillows between their knees when they sleep, and stomach sleeping should be avoided altogether because it puts undue stress on the back.
- Posture problems can be a big factor in low back pain. When you are in the habit of having poor posture in your daily activities, it can put unnecessary strain on your back, which can increase your risk of injury and worsen the pain after you’re injured. Paying attention to how you stand, sit, bend, and lift can take the pressure off of your nerves, reducing your pain.
- Heat and ice are the old standbys for a reason. Many doctors recommend using ice for 48 hours after an injury, and then switching to heat, but others feel it doesn’t matter which one you use. Try them both, and as long as your skin is protected, it should be fine to use what works for you for as long as you need it.
- Prevention is the best back ache cure. Especially if you are trying to manage chronic back pain, it’s important to develop an exercise plan. Work to strengthen your core and improve flexibility, and consider relaxation practices like yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
- When should you seek the services of a professional? Back pain doesn’t often require emergency treatment unless there are symptoms like a fever and chills, unexplained weight loss, pain in the abdomen, weakness in the legs, or sudden bladder or bowel incontinence. It’s not a bad idea, however, to seek treatment if you’re in pain. A physical therapist, massage therapist, or physical medicine professional offering chiropractic adjustments can often be quite beneficial in alleviating back pain.
At our clinic, we strive to offer treatments for back pain and lower back pain that treat the entire individual, rather than a list of symptoms. Using holistic healing therapies that include physical therapy, chiropractic, and other alternative treatments, we can help alleviate low back pain and help the patient achieve an overall state of wellbeing. The initial consultation is free, so call today for an appointment.