Every year, back pain causes Americans to lose 264 million workdays—the equivalent of two workdays for every full-time employee in the country. If you’re one of the millions suffering from back pain, you know just how debilitating it can be. The good news is that there are several things you can do to manage and prevent back pain. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Get regular exercise
Back pain is a common problem caused by various factors, including poor posture, muscle strain, and injuries. While some degree of back pain is average, it can become chronic if it is not managed correctly. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce back pain and prevent it from recurring.
By strengthening the muscles that support the spine, it can help to relieve pressure on the spine and improve posture. It also helps to increase flexibility and range of motion, which can also help reduce back pain. For best results, it is essential to focus on activities that target the core muscles and those that promote good posture.
Some ideal exercises for back pain include:
• Core and back strengthening exercises
2. Practice good posture
Poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain. Research shows a deep association between poor posture and back pain. Maintaining good posture can help relieve existing back pain while preventing future problems. When standing, ensure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and your weight is evenly distributed across both feet. Keep your shoulders relaxed, with your chest lifted and your chin slightly tucked in. Avoid slouching or leaning forward for extended periods.
When sitting, be aware of how you’re positioning yourself in the chair. Don’t sit too far back or too far forward. Instead, try to assume a comfortable position that will allow you to maintain good alignment between your ears, shoulders, and hips. Use pillows or lumbar rolls to support your lower back, and avoid crossing your legs or sitting in the same position for too long.
3. Use a supportive mattress
Having a supportive mattress is key to managing and preventing back pain. A mattress that is too soft can cause the spine to become misaligned, leading to increased pressure on the muscles and nerves in the back. On the other hand, an overly firm mattress can cause discomfort and poor posture.
Look for a mattress that provides enough support while being comfortable at the same time. Pay attention to how your body feels when lying down on different mattresses so you can decide which is best for you. Additionally, be sure to change your mattress every 8-10 years, as mattresses tend to lose their support over time. This is exceptionally accurate for people with specific mattresses like memory foam, which may require a replacement more often.
4. Invest in an ergonomic workspace
An ergonomic workspace can help reduce back pain by providing proper support and alignment for the spine. It can help to improve back pain by providing the correct posture and alignment for the spine. This reduces the amount of strain on your back muscles and minimizes the risk of developing chronic pain.
Ergonomic furniture such as adjustable office chairs, standing desks, and laptop stands can help to support your body in a comfortable position that prevents slouching and promotes proper posture. Adjustable office chairs can also be adjusted to give you the correct height and back support while standing desks can help reduce the time you spend sitting. Laptop stands are also helpful as they allow you to view the screen at a comfortable angle, minimizing the strain on your neck and shoulders.
5. Seek therapeutic treatments
In cases where back pain persists despite the above preventative measures, it may be beneficial to seek out therapeutic treatments.
Physical therapy can help to reduce inflammation, strengthen muscles and improve mobility. Physical therapists can provide therapeutic exercises, stretches, and massage techniques to help relax muscles, improve posture, and reduce spasms that can cause pain.
Massage therapy is another excellent option for relieving muscle tension and reducing pain caused by tight muscles. This is because massage techniques can help to loosen muscles and reduce inflammation. Massage therapy also promotes better circulation, which helps to bring more nutrients and oxygen to the affected areas, relieving pain and discomfort.
Lastly, acupuncture, also known as stylostixis, is a helpful treatment that involves inserting needles in specific points of the body to release nerve stimulation and reduce pain. The needles used in acupuncture help to stimulate the release of natural painkillers, such as endorphins and serotonin, which can help to reduce inflammation and relax muscles.
Back pain can be debilitating and even chronic if not managed correctly. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to manage and prevent back pain, such as proper posture and seeking therapeutic treatments. These tips can help reduce the amount of pain you experience and promote a healthier lifestyle overall.