Back pain is a daily issue for many people. Knowing the causes of back pain is key to treating and preventing this painful condition.
Back pain is one of the most common health ailments reported to physicians. Eight out of ten adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Poor posture, the aging process, being overweight, smoking and one’s occupation are all factors that contribute towards an aching back. Back pain is often quite debilitating and is one of the most common reasons people miss work. The following are some effective ways of treating and easing sore back muscles back into shape.
Get Enough Sleep to Reduce an Aching Back
Back pain is common in those who do not get enough quality sleep. During sleep, the body repairs itself, and this includes sore muscles and inflamed joints. Many back pain sufferers either sleep too few hours or have trouble with intermittent awakenings during the night. Mick Barnes from HF4You recommends an orthopaedic mattress if you suffer from a bad back. He also mentions his company now sells 30% more ortho beds compared to just 5 years ago, which indicates it is a problem on the rise.
Sleeping on one’s side and on a firm surface is recommended to prevent curvature of the spine, which can lead to increased back pain. Sufferers can also try sleeping with a pillow between their knees for added comfort and spine protection. Practicing good sleep habits will go a long way towards easing back pain.
Massage Therapy Provides Deep Relief to Sore Back Muscles
Benefits of massage therapy include improved blood circulation, muscle relaxation, and increased endorphin levels, all of which are highly effective in managing chronic pain. Regular massage therapy can access deep tissue and help release tightened fascia (the connective tissue that wraps around the muscles), thereby increasing muscular range of movement and providing pain relief.
Light Exercise Will Keep Back Muscles Strong
Unless the pain is severe, some gentle stretching and light forms of exercise is important to strengthen muscles and keep the back mobile. Going for short walks, and then gradually increasing the speed and duration as endurance increases is a great way to start. Too much rest can cause muscles to deteriorate and pain to increase. A strong, flexible spine leads to a healthy, pain-free back.
Maintain a Healthy Weight to Reduce Pressure on the Back
Being overweight can significantly contribute towards back pain issues. When the spine is overloaded with excess weight, it can lead to muscle weakness and poor flexibility, which in turn can lead to injury. Losing weight can drastically reduce the load on the spine, thereby decreasing the pain. Those having trouble attaining their weight loss goals should seek out the services of a nutritionist and/or fitness counsellor.
Combination of Bodywork Therapies is Best in Dealing with Back Pain
Back pain sufferers would do well to combine a variety of therapy modalities into their regime. Chiropractic adjustments, physiotherapy, athletic therapy and acupuncture are all excellent. Back pain is often a complex issue, involving a variety of different muscles and joints, and sufferers will receive maximum benefits by utilizing a combination of therapies.
Yoga Can Help with Chronic Back Pain
A combination of gentle stretching and breathing exercises can help relieve stress and release muscle tension. An experienced yoga instructor can tailor a program targeted to stretch and strengthen specific key areas of the body (tight hips and shoulders are often associated with back pain). A gentle, restorative yoga program, such as Hatha Yoga, would be best suited to back pain sufferers. Practiced in a heated room, hot yoga can also provide many benefits to relieve sore muscles.
Painkillers Provide Immediate Relief to a Sore Back
Over the counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can provide temporary relief from back pain by easing inflammation of the joints and muscles. The most common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. The use of painkillers should be considered a short-term remedy, and for best results should be combined with any of the therapies listed above.
The above suggestions are recommended for most back-pain sufferers; however, should the pain worsen, or if any of the following symptoms occur, a physician should be consulted immediately:
- Numbness and/or tingling
- Severe pain that does not go away with rest
- Pain following a fall or injury
- Pain accompanied by any of the following: weakness, trouble urinating, leg numbness, unexplained weight loss, and/or fever.