You’ve been hunched over your crowded work desk for the past few hours, intently crunching numbers as you type up the latest quarterly report for your boss. Your persistent back pain has re-emerged, and is telling you it needs help through muscle aching and throbbing.
When you finally stand up to take a well-deserved break, the poor posture that your body has been locked in for half the day refuses to respond.
For most of the 31 million people each year in this country who suffer from the nagging onset of chronic back pain, as you do, the first inclination is to visit the doctor and get your pain pill prescription refilled.
But pain medications are expensive and carry the potential for side effects, including addiction issues. Furthermore, they merely only mask the root cause. When your prescription runs out, your back pain symptoms will most likely simply flare-up again.
Another course of action people eventually take for back pain relief is surgery, a process that comes with its own set of potential complications and expenses.
Unfortunately, pain medications only treat the symptoms of back pain and don’t address the underlying causes. Invasive procedures like a back operation oftentimes precipitate new back-related problems, including chronic pain.
On the positive front, there are several methods to reduce the potential for future back pain episodes; ones that actually go deeper with respect to overcoming the root cause of your periodic discomfort.
This article will present you with 6 often-overlooked remedies that might help alleviate your back pain problems.
Get to the (Muscle) Core of the Problem
Some of the strongest muscles found in the human body exist in our trunk and back areas. Commonly referred to as core muscle groups, there are a number of strengthening exercises available that can be done at home, the gym, or even your workplace – all designed to build up your body’s muscular foundation.
Furthermore, medical experts like Dr. Oz recommend strengthening your core muscles to serve as an important cog in the process of naturally warding off persistent back pain, and as an alternative to pills and scalpels.
In addition, you will also stabilize the spine by strengthening the muscles surrounding it, making your back more resistant to future injuries when overworked.
Discover the Ancient Art of Yoga
The discipline of yoga has been practised for over 5,000 years, and has been found to positively impact many of the body’s physiological functions, including flexibility, endurance, stretching abilities and muscle strength. Additionally, it induces a relaxed state for the practitioner, which science has determined lowers both mind and body stress levels. When you feel stressed out, your back muscles unknowingly tighten, which can exacerbate back pain issues.
Yoga has historically also been found to benefit the heart and breathing and, as previously mentioned, cleanses a person’s mind of toxic thoughts.
There are several yoga poses that instructors recommend to improve their students’ overall back health, while alleviating the discomfort that back pain patients experience.
Better Sleep Leads to a Healthier Back
When the tell-tale discomfort of back pain shows up, it frequently carries over into your bedroom and disrupts normal sleep patterns. Sleep experts agree that we need 7-9 hours engaged in this activity daily to live happier, healthier and longer lives.
To do so with nagging back pain, however, may present a challenge. To begin with, better sleep starts with a mattress that is firm enough to support your ailing back, while comfortably conforming to your body’s contours. Medium-firmness mattresses are the best, while sleeping on one’s stomach with chronic back pain is not advisable.
If you sleep on your side, tuck a pillow between your knees before drifting off, in order to relieve back pressure. If your preferred sleeping position is on your back, put the pillow under your knees to accomplish the same result. Also, avoid sleep-interrupters like alcohol, heavy meals, caffeine and nicotine before retiring to bed.
It is also beneficial to stick to a rigid sleep schedule, including going to and rising from bed around the same times every day.
Stretch for Success
Our bodies were not made to sit for 40 to 50 hours per week, but if you drive a truck for a living, or have an office desk job, this is easier said than done. When we are slouched and scrunched up for half the day, it manifests later in deleterious effects on your spine, and leads to back pain.
Poor posture puts unnatural tension on sensitive back tissues. They then become inflamed, and your injured back muscles start sending warning signs, such as aching and burning, to your brain.
To combat this, take a few minutes every couple of hours or so to get up and stretch out your body parts, especially your back. Stretching has been found to:
- Improve your flexibility and mobility
- Relieve neck and back pain
- Lower stress levels
- Strengthen muscle tissue
We’ve previously recommended some stretching exercises – use them, and start feeling the benefits of a healthier back!
Your Back Craves Vitamin-Rich Foods
In today’s fast-paced world, our diets are often lacking in the proper nutrients essential to body health. Furthermore, studies have found that back pain exacerbates when certain vitamins are missing from a sufferer’s daily food intake.
Muscle strength, as we’ve discussed earlier, helps ward off back pain recurrences, while tampering down its severity. Science has determined that a healthier diet also correlates with improved body healing rates, including for back pain.
For a better-feeling back throughout the day, several vitamins are indicated to be beneficial during the process, and those are:
- Vitamin B12, which promotes good nerve, blood cell, and spine health.
- Vitamin A, which is a positive force in assisting your body in damaged tissue repair.
- Vitamin C has been found to stimulate the growth of collagen, a natural substance that promotes the transformation of new cells into various body tissues. It also helps strengthen bones and tissue components.
To enjoy your newfound better back, listen to your body’s food cravings whenever it is directing you to eat a more vitamin-enriched diet. If necessary, take a daily multivitamin just to make sure you are feeding your back the aforementioned vitamin groups.
Proper Posture Always Helps
One of the simplest and most beneficial actions a back pain sufferer can take is to improve their posture and stop slouching. Good posture effectively counteracts the negative effects of sitting so many hours per day, or even while we are standing or sleeping.
While awake, you want your shoulders back, with your chin up and out, and back straight. Proper posture has also been found to provide the average person, especially those of us who battle chronic back pain, with a number of other positive outcomes, including:
- Enhanced oxygen intake and blood circulation
- Release of natural body pain killers like serotonin and endorphins into your system
- Makes you appear more confident and successful
- Reduces stress levels
- And many more!
There are no negative side effects when using proper posture. So implement good posture habits throughout the day, and it will help make your back pain problems a thing of the past – or most certainly reduce the prevalence and intensity.