As we get older, sadly, we are no longer as flexible as we used to be, which can lead to many problems. One area of the body that can cause a lot of issues is the back, especially the lower area. From constant aching to spasms, back pain comes in many varieties. Whether it is related to excess weight, surgery, sports injuries or a road or workplace accident, there can be many triggers of back pain.
If you suffer from back problems, you will know just how upsetting it can be. There’s not just the pain to deal with, but also how it affects your daily life. Simple tasks like picking up your child for a hug or carrying the groceries to the house can be all it takes to put your back out.
I once ended up in bed for a week simply by bending down to pick up a black bag full of rubbish and the Husband had to carry me to the sofa!
For serious back pain caused by an accident or illness, it’s always best to consult a doctor. Mild back pain, though, can often be treated quite effectively at home with some of the tips below.
How to beat back pain
It might be painful, but the worst thing you can do is lay still. Our spines are meant to be constantly moved, even when they’re feeling a little sore. Don’t spend the day sat still, get up and move about. My physiotherapist told me that he advises never sitting down for longer than 45 minutes at a time!
Take the dog for a walk, go to work, do everything that you normally would on a daily basis. While your back is healing, avoid strenuous exercise. Once it’s healed, however, aerobic exercise, like swimming and cycling, can help to keep your back healthy. Weights are a big no-no, but any form of aerobic exercise is perfect for strengthening your spine, as are pilates and yoga.
Relieve the pain
When it comes to fighting back pain, often taking a couple of ibuprofen tablets can work wonders. If you are unsure about what will work best for the type of back pain that you have, ask your pharmacist to recommend something.
You might not like the idea of taking drugs to remedy the pain, but often, they can work wonders. My GP advised me that taking painkillers will help you to keep moving and therefore help heal your back quicker. Ibuprofen comes in gel form as well as tablets and you may find applying these directly to the location of your pain more effective.
As well as taking medicine to relieve your back pain, you may find that applying hot and cold compresses also helps.
Whatever you decide to take, if the pain does not subside or starts to get worse, see your GP and remember to check the dosage for any tablets you do take and stick to one type, rather than mixing and matching whatever you can find in your medicine cabinet.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, you have an increased risk of pain not only in your back but in your joints and muscles too.
You will be more likely to experience problems in your lower back because carrying extra weight around your middle pulls the pelvis forward, straining your lower back and giving you lower back pain.
Extra weight will affect your spine too. If you are significantly overweight, you may suffer from sciatica, pain from a herniated disc or a pinched nerve.
If your BMI (body mass index) is too high, there is an increased risk of osteoarthritis due to the additional strain on your joints from carrying too much weight.
Your weight may also influence how well you recover from any back surgery and obese patients have a higher risk of complications and infections from surgery.
Maintaining a healthy weight will not only help to reduce existing back pain, but it will also help prevent certain types of back problems in the future.
Find more tips here.
Switch your mattress
Did you know that 10 per cent of back pain is caused by sleeping on a mattress that is uncomfortable? You may not have thought about it, but something as simple as your mattress could be causing your backache.
If you think that your mattress could be the problem, especially if it is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it and take a look at some of the memory foam mattresses on the market such as SIMBA.
Did you know that backache can be caused by not stretching out your muscles enough? To help reduce your back pain and aid healing, take the time to stretch at least twice a day.
There are various stretches that you can do to help your back, but the best ones will depend on exactly where the pain is.
Advice from fellow back pain sufferers
Maggie says “You can buy a TENS unit on Amazon. I swear by yoga and gentle exercises at home.”
Susan says “Depends, but moving around is recommended. Hot showers, ice packs, stretching exercises help me.”
Paul says “Exercises which a specifically designed to strengthen your core will help.”
Bo suggests “I have plenty of back pain. I use Boron 10mg/day (removes fluoride and your body uses it as a joint lubricant). You should see results after a week and a half.
You could also try a spoonful of diatomaceous earth mixed in water for a month or so.
Silicon improves collagen and vitamin C will collagen production. Collagen is the scaffold of the human body so the quantity and quality of collagen are key.
Daniel says “I find that two approaches help – a focus on mobility and a focus on strength.
So I do stretching exercises, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong… anything that gets me to twist, stretch and turn the spine further than the usual small bandwidth of movement I would otherwise have, especially if I have been spending my day at my desk in front of my computer.
I find that aiming for an extended range of movement helps me to avoid stiffness and maintain spine mobility.
Secondly, I try to build the strength of my back and my core muscles. I love the Plank and variants of it, as this set of exercises builds up strength surprisingly fast.
If, though, you have a back injury or have damaged your back in any way (for example arthritic damage or damaged discs), then you must consult a doctor and a physiotherapist.
They will be able to help you to develop a set of “safe” exercises which will help build up your strength and mobility without making your back injury or damage worse and increasing your back pain.
Maureen says “I recommend the back exercise called “the cat”…you need to kneel down on all fours and gently raise your back and lower it. 10 times is enough to begin. Make sure you don’t jerk. Smooth action is needed.
It loosens my back up and keeps it supple. You can put pillows under your knees if you wish.”
Jill says “Heat, cold, yoga and most important of all – maintain a healthy weight”.
But could it be cancer?
Many people worry that their back pain is a sign of something more sinister, particularly if their doctor can find no obvious cause – which is often the case.
The American Cancer Society says that back pain can be a symptom of cancer of the colon, rectum or ovary.
Cancer may be present when the pain is persistent, getting worse and is not helped by rest. The pain is often worse at night and disturbs the sufferer’s sleep.
However, the NHS says that it is very rare that back pain is caused by something as serious as this.
See a GP if your pain does not go away in a few weeks or begins to get worse.
For more tips on Health, visit my Health Page HERE. Please note that I am not medically qualified and all advice is taken at the reader’s risk. If in any doubt, please consult your doctor.
What are your best tips on how to beat back pain?