Are you or someone you are living with suffering from back pain or stiffness? About 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it can have an impact on many parts of life. It can affect sleep, mood, work and finances, relationships, ability to do housework or gardening, and enjoyment of cherished activities from playing with the grandchildren to playing a round of golf, a game of tennis, or going for a run. Many people think of back pain as an inevitable part of aging or put it down to stress or lack of exercise. They may have been told by friends or even healthcare providers that nothing can be done other than rest and medication.
In this report, I share 10 very powerful strategies that I have found to work for many of my patients over the past 15 years. They are in no particular order, but they all work. Without knowing your specific history and the root cause of the pain I cannot tell you which strategy will work for you, but in trying out some or all of the strategies described you may go a long way in feeling
better and regaining your active and healthy lifestyle and joie de vivre.
Your body is not designed to spend much time sitting. When you sit there is about 10 times as much pressure pushing down on your spine than when you stand tall. This happens because we tend to slump or slouch, which does not allow the muscles to support the spine to work efficiently. Even if you do sit up with good posture initially, the muscles supporting your back will fatigue if you sit uninterrupted for more than 20 minutes. This inevitably causes stiffness, aches, and pain. Even just getting up and moving around for a couple of minutes regularly can make a big difference.
When you sleep on your stomach every part of your spine, from the neck down to the low back, is twisted and in the wrong position. Over time, this can cause a lot of imbalances, damage, and pain in your spine.
Ice is a great tool to relieve an achy or painful back. It decreases inflammation and has a natural local anesthetic effect. So if you feel achy at the end of a busy day apply an icepack to your back for 10 to 15 minutes. You can do this every couple of hours if needed.
You may wonder when to use heat. Heat can be helpful if your back feels stiff in the morning. Applying a hot pack or hot water bottle for 10 minutes can make it easier for you to loosen up.
When you consistently carry a load on one side your spine will have uneven pressure on it. Over time this may adversely affect your posture as your spine may curve sideways and cause decreased mobility and pain.
Wearing high heels changes your posture and increases the pressure going through your back by about 25 times. Also wearing unsupportive shoes including flip-flops and sandals can put extra pressure on your back, hips, and knees. Of course, this is a cumulative effect that develops over months and years, and often results in pain and stiffness in your 40s, 50s, and beyond. Just changing your footwear to something supportive that can absorb a lot of the shock going through your body with each step can dramatically decrease the pressure on your back and decrease or eliminate your back pain.
If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees. While this may take a few tries to get used to, this technique can really help your back as it helps keep your spine in better alignment and decreases the tension in your low back.
Your regular daily activities, if done with poor posture, cause cumulative strain on your back. Tasks such as leaning over the sink to brush your teeth or leaning over the kitchen counter preparing food can increase pressure in your back about 50 percent. If you are standing at the kitchen counter for a while trying to put one foot up on a small footstool or open the cabinet door and step one foot on the bottom ledge to relieve some pressure in your back.
Your body can naturally produce endorphins, which are hormones that can be as effective as pain medication in blocking pain signals to your brain. You can get your body to produce these pain-relieving hormones through aerobic exercise such as walking, or relaxation and meditation techniques. There are free guided meditation podcasts and apps available.
These are well-established systems of exercises that can help you become more aware of your posture and areas of tension, improve flexibility, and increase muscle tone and control through the core muscles supporting your spine.
This tip will provide you with the fastest relief from back pain and stiffness. With back pain, many people focus just on the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Physical therapists are movement specialists who can determine the underlying cause and help you restore mobility, reduce pain, and improve quality of life. Therapy may include manual therapy help you relax tight muscles or loosen stiff and stuck joints as well as exercises to improve your alignment and strengthen your core muscles.
Most people don’t realize how easy it is to get access to physical therapy. You don’t need a referral from a physician unless you are on Medicare. You will likely be able to avoid expensive unnecessary tests and medications and quickly get back to doing the things you enjoy. Our clinic can help get you on the right track.
For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or: 919-402- 0888