Back pain is a common problem that affects at least 75 to 85 percent of Americans at some point in their lifetime. The causes of back pain vary, but are most often due to muscle strains, accidents, or injuries; other causes are related to lifestyle factors. If you are suffering from chronic back pain, these helpful tips may provide some relief.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Did you know a lack of quality sleep can worsen back pain? To help keep your back in alignment, invest in a comfortably firm mattress. You may also want to try different sleeping positions, such as lying on your side or placing a pillow under or between your knees.
- Exercise regularly. When suffering from back pain, exercise has been found to effectively reduce or alleviate symptoms. In addition, strengthening your back muscles helps support your spine. Get moving with slow, gentle exercises – such as swimming, walking, or yoga – and increase your pace or intensity if possible.
- Maintain a healthy weight. One of the best ways to avoid back pain is to keep off those extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to regular exercise, eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, and low on sugar and processed foods.
- Stretch to improve flexibility. Regular stretching – such as before bed, exercising, playing sports, or heaving lifting – is key to staying flexible and avoiding back pain. Simple stretches, such as bending side to side or bending forward, can improve blood circulation to the back muscles and reduce injury.
- Practice good posture. Poor posture, especially if you sit for long periods of time, can cause back pain or make it worse. Avoid slouching or slumping over your keyboard. Instead, remind yourself to sit up straight and keep your shoulders relaxed. If you don’t have an ergonomic chair for the office, try putting a pillow behind your lower back for extra support.
- Apply heat or cold. If you suffer from muscle spasms, cramps, or back strain, heat therapy (such as with a heating pad) can help provide some relief. Additionally, regular applications of cold therapy (using ice packs) can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Try either therapy several times a day for about 20 minutes.
In the majority of cases, back pain gets better with non-surgical methods. However, back pain can be a symptom of other underlying issues that may require medication, physical therapy, or even surgery.
If you suffer from persistent back pain, Coastal Orthopedics is here to help. Our orthopedic specialists are committed to developing the right treatment options best suited for each patient so that they can get back to living life. For more information, call us today at 941-792-1404 or request an appointment online.