Severe back pain could include numbness, weakness or tingling feeling in the legs. When this happens, call your doctor or a registered physiotherapist for help. As for mild back pain, in some cases it can be managed at home with self-treatments and proper routines. Today we look at a few self-managing back pain solutions.
5 in 10 Canadians Suffer Back Pain – and the Trend is Growing
Women, specifically, are more prone to back problems because of how their lifestyle works – heavy purses, the usual one-hip rides for their children and pregnancy itself may cause back pain.
Back pain can happen at any age – even to teens and children.
Factors such as lack of exercise and carrying excess weights can weaken and stress the back, leading to pain. Improper lifting, smoking and psychological conditions may also cause back pain. Certain diseases such as cancer or arthritis can trigger back pain too.
If you are living with back pain, read on for some practical advice on managing your back pain.
Back Pain Management: Let’s First Ease the Pain
Regular application of ice or heat therapy can significantly reduce back pain and speed up recovery.
Cold therapy acts as local anesthetic and helps reduce inflammation while heat therapy stimulates blood flow promoting faster recuperation from the pain.
Do ice therapy for 10 minutes several times a day for the first day. Then you can begin heat therapy the next day. Alternate cold and heat therapy the following days.
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can also help alleviate back pain. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen work to limit inflammation, but try and limit your intake. Long term usage has been linked to liver damage, ulcers, and more.
Proper sitting is essential
Bad sitting posture not only makes your condition worse, but it could also be the very cause of your pain; so, the right sitting position is very important for people suffering from back pain. Cleveland Clinic suggests these sitting position to help back pain cases.
- Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
- All three normal back curves should be present while sitting. A small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll can be used to help you maintain the normal curves in your back.
Here’s how to find a good sitting position when you’re not using a back support or lumbar roll:
Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds.
Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture.
Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
Bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed.
Keep your feet flat on the floor.
Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing back-bends.
The right exercise and stretches
The right back pain stretches must include the ligaments, muscles and tendons around the back, spine and hamstring muscles. Essentials exercises should be done slowly, increasing the level of intensity gradually to avoid making the pain worse of re-injuring the area.
Here are two quick routines that you can do at home to mobilize the spine and strengthen back.
- Kneel in a comfortable exercising mat with knees under hips and hands under your shoulders but not over-arching the lower back. If you have a knee problem, do not sit back on your heels. You can use a mirror to see if you do this position correctly. Don’t lock your elbow. Then begin slowly moving your bottom backward but make sure to maintain the natural curve of the spine. Hold this stretch, take a deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- Lie on your back with legs extended straight out. Bend your right knee up. Cross it over to the left side and hold this position for 20 seconds to feel that gentle stretch on your back and buttock. Tighten the core muscles and rotate back to the middle. Do this stretch three times in each side.
Even though staying in bed may seem to be the best choice when you are suffering from back pain, keeping active is actually essential to help eliminate the pain. This being said means that you could do your regular routines – for instance, walk in the shops or gardening – to avoid becoming sedentary. Just avoid extreme activities that involve lifting excess weight.
Avoid foods that trigger pain
There are certain group of foods that contribute to pain and heighten inflammation. By knowing them, you can avoid them.
Gluten foods for instance can cause inflammation because of its pathogen contents. The body automatically releases inflammation to fight pathogens. Glutens are found in wheat, barley and processed. Egg yolks contain arachidonic acid which may lead to increase inflammation, and thus, pain. Red meat, dairy, fried and processed foods can also heighten back pain.
On the other hand, dark, leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard and kale are rich in nutrients that fight against oxidative stress. Raw walnuts, avocado, sea vegetables, acai and turmeric promote healing.
One to One Therapy from a Registered Physiotherapist
Various clinical studies demonstrated the use of manual therapy for back pain cases. The back is thoroughly examined and a personalized physiotherapy program is created. Treatments could include manipulation and a mobilization that will help ease out stiffness, promotes flexibility and overall wellness. Treatment can also include a wide range of rehabilitative modalities.
Since most patients are covered by insurance, and our no-risk, no obligation appointment, consider Sturgeon Valley Physiotherapy if your back pain continues.