There’s an old saying that the only things that we are guaranteed in life are death and taxes.
Well, in today’s world we can almost add back pain to that list, as over 80% of us will suffer from the discomfort and inconvenience of that affliction at some point during our lives. In fact, back pain annually strikes over 30 million people in the United States, and often without warning.
Medically, there are two classifications of back pain. The temporary variety is classified as acute, while persistent back pain problems are said to be chronic; the latter category being the focus of this article.
Chronic back pain means that the soreness and inflammation present periodically throughout the remainder of one’s life. In other words, and due to a more serious underlying condition usually resulting from a past traumatic event, like a car accident or serious sports injury, the pain is permanent to some degree.
Now for the good news! Fortunately, research has determined that there are ways to help alleviate the frequency and intensity of back pain flare-ups. Based upon that evidence, what follows are 4 simple everyday tips for daily back pain relief that are easy to implement.
Improve Your Lifestyle Habits
Many of us just simply don’t take care of our bodies like we should, and this concept carries over to our back’s health, as well. Lifestyle choices are so easy to recognize and improve, starting with exercising more.
When we get our bodies moving and hearts pumping, so many beneficial physiological changes take place, including ones that reduce the intensity of back pain.
Overall, strengthening your back’s core muscles greatly will lower the odds of overworking the area. As an adjuvant to exercise, back pain experts recommend these lifestyle alterations:
- Stop smoking
- Eat healthier and lose weight
- Get a massage or chiropractic manipulation periodically
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- Practice yoga and meditation (yoga increases your flexibility, too!)
- Reduce your overall stress levels
- Get adequate rest
Also, identify job-related tasks or hobbies that are overworking tender spinal tissue, and implement corrective measures. Putting into practice one or more of these lifestyle alterations will begin the process of better back health!
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
One of the most important things we can do is to enjoy 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Doing so promotes good blood circulation and oxygenation, and allows stressed muscles to relax. When you are asleep, your back is resting too.
Good sleep habits begin with a firm and comfortable mattress, one that supports your spine well. Stay on a set sleep schedule, going to bed and rising about the same time each day.
Sleep studies have found that nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine, along with large meals, can all have a deleterious effect on your ability to sleep soundly. So, avoid those things for several hours prior to your intended bedtime, or all together.
Sunlight also can interfere with your sleep, like when a person works nights. Block out its rays as much as possible from your bedroom.
And finally, a person’s sleep posture also has a bearing on whether or not they get up the next morning ready to take on the world with a pain-free back, or not.
Reduce Stress During the Day
In today’s hectic world this is easier said than done, but it can be accomplished. According to WebMD, mental stress causes you to unknowingly tense your back’s muscles, which leads to the onset of back pain. WebMD also says that when you have a back pain episode, stress can exacerbate the symptoms.
All in all, stress and back pain can keep you in a vicious cycle. Most people experience stress due to emotional or psychological issues that transition into worrying.
The best treatment for reducing worry about your job, home life, or other concerns is to take your mind off of them. Yoga is a great facilitator for this, along with walking or exercising in some other form. Read books, listen to music, or lose yourself in some other hobby for a while.
Bottom line: Lowering your stress level will probably correlate with reduced back pain problems.
Always Practice Good Posture
Much like when you sleep, using good body posture throughout the day goes a long way in warding off the onset and severity of back pain. Whether sitting or standing, one should do so with their back straight, chest out, and chin up.
This positioning of your body allows for better blood, oxygen and beneficial chemical flow to all organs and soft tissues, as it reduces stress on the back and spinal regions. The good body chemicals that are released, like serotonin and endorphins, also help with back pain relief.
Conversely, slouching is never good, as it causes pressure to your neck, spine and upper and lower back muscles. Much like mental stress itself, and the potentially endless stress/pain cycle that can occur, when you suffer from chronic back pain flare-ups, improper posture is just going to make the soreness and aching worse, or accelerate the odds of a recurrence taking place.
Monitor Your Posture Day or Night with the Lumo Lift Posture Coach
As was mentioned above, it is critical to your back’s health to use good posture while sleeping or awake. The health and fitness experts at Lumo have come up with 21st century technology called the Lumo Lift that constantly collects and analyzes data from your body’s posture.
It uses a wearable sensor, about the size of a lapel pin, to transmit real-time information to an app that you can download on any iOS or Android device. In addition, the Posture Coach actually alerts you when your posture is incorrect with a gentle vibration that is only perceptible to the person wearing the sensor.
Our Lumo Lift Posture Coach can even be worn at night, so that you can look over the data the next morning for “coaching advice”, and make the necessary posture adjustments.
When your posture improves throughout the day and even while asleep, and you combine that fact with the other recommendations in this article, good things can happen! Along the way, it is our desire at Lumo to help reduce the likelihood of back pain in your life.