Back Pain Solutions
If you are experiencing back pain, it can make you feel extremely frustrated, since it limits what you can comfortably do. Back pain can make sleeping difficult, it can make walking painful and it can make doing the everyday things you like to do, a painful experience.
Most people want to avoid surgery, if at all possible. Here are some possible solutions for treating back pain that has been known to work to ease the pains and frustration you may be experiencing.
Exercises That Can Help Back Pain
When it’s painful to move, the last thing you might imagine yourself doing is any kind of exercises – but strangely enough, it really does help. Avoiding as much movement as possible can actually make the pain worse because it increases the stiffness that you experience because of the pain.
The exercises work to bolster the muscles and strengthen them. It does away with the stiffness that can develop with back pain and you’ll get a release of endorphins, which is your body’s own natural pain reliever.
- You can start with stretching exercises that limber up the muscles in your back that are causing you the pain. One of these is to lie on your back and bend your knees each in turn toward your chest.
- Keep the position for about 30 seconds then lower it. Use this with both legs. You can also lie on your back and bring the knee up again but instead of bringing it to your chest, cross the leg over to the opposite side of your body.
- Hold it for 30 seconds. Do this with each leg. You can also kneel on your hands and knees as a cat would. Arch your back up and hold it for 20 seconds, then relax. Do several repetitions of this stretch.
You’ll also want to do some muscle strengthening exercises since some back pain is associated with weak muscles in that area. So try to do back extensions, high rows, lat pull downs, low row and other exercises to build muscle.
Some muscle strengthening exercises are ones like reaches that use different sides of your body.
- Get into the cat position and extend your left arm straight out. You would also stretch your right leg out and hold that position for a few seconds. Then switch and use the opposite arm and leg.
- This exercise used the muscles in the back in a gentle way that will help to strengthen overall muscle in the back as well as the ones in the lower back. The bridge exercise also strengthens those muscles.
- You would lie down with flat but then lift your hips so that only your shoulders remain on the ground. Hold the position for a few seconds, then lower. Repeat for at least 10 repetitions.
Doing exercises such as side planks can also help to strengthen back muscles. One of the most common causes of back pain actually isn’t caused by strain.
One of the most common reasons that people end up with back pain is due to sitting for too long.
Whether it’s on the sofa or in a desk chair, the sitting position puts stress on those muscles. This is known as postural pain caused by inactivity. So if you’re someone who has to sit a lot, schedule breaks to get up and stretch or exercise those back muscles.
Losing Weight Can Help Alleviate Back Pain
If you’re experiencing back pain and you’re overweight, the culprit could be those extra pounds that you’re carrying around. Even being as much as ten pounds overweight can lead to persistent back pain.
If you lose the weight, you could end the pain. How you carry that extra weight can also add to the problem. While being overweight causes back pain, where the weight is located on your body can even increase the odds that you’ll develop back pain.
People who tend to carry their extra weight in the abdominal area are more likely to suffer from back pain that people who carry their extra weight in other areas. There’s a medical reason for this.
When your weight is prominently carried in the abdomen, those extra pounds pull forward on your back muscles. When this happens, it throws your balance askew. So you find yourself adjusting by changing your position.
What happens when your weight is in the abdominal area is that you tend to shift the natural arch of the spine to make it more pronounced. When your arch deepens, so does the risks associated with your back’s health.
When you take off the extra weight in this area, it lessens the severity of the arch of the spine and takes the pressure off, which in turn lessens the pain that you feel. Even if you don’t carry your extra weight in your abdominal area, you can still have back pain.
Excess weight puts a strain on the muscles that support your back. It also puts stress on the muscles that are intended to keep you active. When people have too much weight, they can develop knee or leg pain from that weight.
So as a result of that, they change their gait to make the way that they walk adjust to the pain, which in turn creates back pain. When you lose weight, you allow your body’s natural alignment to return and it eases the pain.
To lose weight, you’ll probably exercise in addition to watching your nutrition, which not only takes off the weight but helps to limber up and then strengthen the back muscles.
Exercise is extremely beneficial to helping ease back pain as well as to prevent it.
That’s because, without exercise, your body loses its ability to be as flexible as it needs to be. When you lose flexibility, it weakens back muscles. When you have weaker back muscles, it forces you to change your posture.
Most people end up tipping their pelvis at an unnatural angle to adjust for the weakened back muscles as well as back pain. If you don’t address your back pain, it will get worse the longer it goes on.
For the best possible care of your back, make sure that you pay attention when it hurts. Get plenty of exercises to keep those muscles limber and to keep your weight at a healthy number for the sake of your back.
Using Electro-therapy to Alleviate Back Pain
There are solutions that you can turn to so that you don’t have to undergo invasive procedures. Some solutions are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and you can do them yourself.
One therapy that’s popular among those who suffer from back pain is electrotherapy. It can take care of pain anywhere in the body, too. You may or may not have heard of this type of therapy.
It’s a therapy based on the use of a device that allows a low electric current to travel through the body to eliminate the pain. The current is passed through the use of electrodes that are placed on the body and it’s completely safe.
In the case of people who have back pain, you would place the electrodes from the unit, known as a TENS unit, on your back on either side of the painful area. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and the unit is operated with the help of a battery.
Once you set it up and attach the electrodes, it gets to work transferring the low-level pulses or current to wherever you need the pain treatment to go. These currents work on the sensory nerves to stimulate them.
You can buy different models of TENS units and it’s a viable alternative to the risks associated with back surgery or other expensive alternatives. The cost of these units will depend on the model that you choose.
These are portable, lightweight, personal devices. They can be used discreetly at home, at work or taken with you when you travel so that you can be pain-free everywhere you go.
With these units, there is usually a variety of strength levels available. This is what will determine the intensity level of the therapy session you choose. The units come with electrodes that are reusable so you won’t have to constantly buy new ones.
What’s good about these units is that the electrodes are designed to stay in place no matter where you put them on your body. So you can have pain relief in your back as well as your leg or foot or wherever you need.
The pulse that the unit delivers has a massage type quality to it, so it gets deep into the targeted pain area and gives you immediate relief. When the area is stimulated, you’ll notice that your pain steadily diminishes until it’s gone.
You can choose to use a low or high current with the unit. Whichever you choose, both are low current. It’s this current that disrupts the brain’s pain signal so that you end up having the pain taken away.
The size of the unit will determine the number of batteries that you’ll need and some of the units are rechargeable so you won’t have to constantly buy batteries. One of the most popular brands sold online is called Omron.
You Can Use Ice and Heat Therapy as a Back Pain Solution
One of the easiest DIY solutions to use to heal back pain is through the means of ice and heat therapy. You can use this therapy to help regardless of where the pain is located on your back.
When you use heat on the areas that hurt, it removes the tension from the muscles, which brings immediate relief – but it also stimulates blood flow. By adding ice to the heat treatments, it causes the muscle to contract.
So one treatment relaxes the muscle, the other works it gently. But the use of ice also takes away the swelling – and when you have back pain, there can be swelling caused by injury or inflammation.
The ice treatment targets that. By using these two methods together, you’ll end up being pain-free faster than you would if you just used one or the other. When you begin this kind of treatment, you’ll want to start with the ice.
This will prep the muscle to better receive the heat treatment. You will need to follow a schedule for using the ice and heat therapy together to get the best results and you’ll notice that your back feels better even after just one use.
However, you’ll want to continue the treatment for a few days. This kind of DIY treatment doesn’t require you to buy any expensive or fancy gadgets. You can use things that you already have on hand.
What most people do is they use ice packs like you get to put in coolers and they apply those to the painful area of the back. If you don’t have any ice packs, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables or ice placed in a sandwich baggie.
You can wrap the ice pack or whatever you use for the pain treatment in a washcloth or towel so that it’s not directly against your skin for better comfort if you like. If you don’t have any ice packs or frozen vegetables or ice to use, you can heavily wet a washcloth or a hand towel and freeze it then use it like you would an ice pack.
To get the maximum benefit from ice therapy, you would need to use them in the morning, the afternoon and in the evening for up to 15 minutes, but no less than about 8 minutes.
Putting your back into ice cold water can also help, but some people find this more difficult to do. For heat therapy, you can use a heating pad. Most of these have various settings, but you may want to place a cloth between your back and the heating pad unless yours has a cloth exterior.
You can also use microwave heat towels or microwave heating pads to treat back pain. Relaxing in a hot bath or taking a hot shower can also help to ease your back. For best DIY heat results, you’ll want to use the moisture.
You can do this by buying heating pads that treat with moisture or you can use rice-filled heating pads that you place in the microwave to warm. Treat back pain three times a day for 15-minute sessions using heat therapy.
How to Improve Your Sleeping Style to Treat Back Pain
Back pain can be caused by a number of things. Most people can’t point to one specific incident and say that’s when they hurt their back. That’s because back pain doesn’t have to be caused by an injury.
It can be caused by the way that you walk, by the way, that you sit or even by the way that you sleep.
Your mattress can be the cause of your back pain and having the right one can alleviate this issue.
- If you have a mattress that’s too hard, it doesn’t allow your body to fully relax, and this causes pain in various joints on your body. So you adjust your body to relieve that pain and you end up sleeping in a way that throws off your posture.
- Sleeping out of alignment repeatedly leads to back pain. In the same way that a mattress that’s too hard causes back pain, one that’s too soft will do the same. Your back needs support and you need a mattress that keeps you in alignment.
- You want to look for memory foam mattresses or ones that are ergonomic. Keep in mind that the position that you sleep in also matters. For people who tend to sleep on their backs, you’ll need a mattress that’s firmer.
- One that’s too soft won’t support your back while you sleep. For this way of sleeping, looking for a mattress that’s medium in firmness. If you tend to sleep mostly on one side of your body or the other, you’ll need a softer mattress to give support to pressure points.
- Stomach sleepers will need to choose a firm mattress. For side sleepers, you would want to sleep with a pillow strategically placed between your knees to alleviate the pressure and help with the alignment of your spine.
- The best position to sleep in if you have back pain is on your back. But use aids such as pillows to give yourself the best alignment and to ease the pain. When sleeping on your back, put a pillow underneath your knees.
- This keeps your back in the right alignment. You can also adjust the head of your bed to help with back pain when sleeping on your back.
- If you have an adjustable bed, you can just elevate it.
- If you don’t, lift the head of the mattress and place something that elevates it between the mattress and box spring. How you support your neck at night when you sleep matters for your back pain.
- If you use a stack of pillows, this forces your neck muscles to tighten and keeps you tensed in that position, which in turn affects your back because it throws it out of proper alignment.
- You’ll want to make sure that your neck is properly supported to ease back pain.
- To do that, make sure that you either use a neck pillow or place a pillow directly under your neck that’s thicker than the one you use to put your head on.
Back pain can be very debilitating and emotionally stressful, so before you hand over your body to the surgeon’s knife, try one or more of these solutions to see if you can take care of your back pain problem on your own.