Back pain seems to be a major feature in modern life. Many jobs seemed almost perfectly designed for it. Office jobs keep people in one upright position for hours on end, and labouring jobs force people into regular strain and stress. As a result, sick days can increase, productivity wanes and the issue continue to escalate.
Of course, it is important that if you suffer from it repeatedly you enlist professional help for back pain. But there are also other ways to treat back pain at home before it gets too much to bear.
Hot and Cold Many people overlook this cheap and easy treatment of back pain. But it really does work wonders. It is best, however, to alternate hot and cold. A cold compress or pack of ice wrapped in a towel or bag will reduce any inflammation. Cold reduces blood flow to a particular area, especially around muscles and tendons. In turn, this keeps problem areas numb and reduced stress which can worsen symptoms.
Alternatively, a hot bath or steam can help relax the muscles, and also covers up the pain. However, it should also be remembered that heat can add to inflammation so it should be used only sparingly.
The old maxim that one should get plenty of rest when suffering with an ailment does not apply to back pain. Though it is true that sufferers should try to avoid strenuous physical movement which might exacerbate the problem, it is also unwise to stop moving altogether.
‘Resting up’ can lead to further stiffening of the muscles or atrophy. Muscles are made to be used, and the more they are exercised the stronger they become, and in turn the faster they will heal.
A tried and tested way of relieving back pain is, of course, a nice relaxing massage. Massage therapists know the anatomy of the back very well and can identify problems very quickly. A good massage will release serotonin and reduce cortisol which will destress and reduce blood flow, allowing for easier muscle repair.
It is also sometimes a good idea to visit back doctors. They offer professional help for back pain and can easily refer to the right kind of therapists depending on the nature of the complaint. If a sufferer suspects there may be more to the pain than a simple strain, it’s a good idea to head for the doctor first.
Position when Resting
Of course, it isn’t possible to exercise all the time when suffering with back pain. However, when resting it is important to make allowances for the source of the pain, otherwise, sufferers will likely feel it worse when they start moving again.
Most people like a particular side or position when sleeping, but it can sometimes be tricky to re-align habits of a lifetime. However, once sufferers of persistent back pain readjust their sleeping position, the effects on back health can improve dramatically.
Like sleeping positions, people get used to a certain way of carrying themselves that they are unaware may be damaging their back muscles.
It is difficult to consciously realign posture - it is an intrinsic habit after all. But it is good practice to think every so often about how the back is feeling. Regular stretching can help to readjust the back muscles and reposition the posture.