July 16, 2024

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10 Ways to Manage Back Pain

4 min read

Using ice packs for back pain can help reduce inflammation. However, a person should avoid overusing ice or getting frostbite.

Many people find that taking some over-the-counter pain relievers, especially those that contain NSAIDs and/or acetaminophen, helps alleviate back pain. Exercise is also important to help strengthen and stretch muscles, which can help prevent back pain in the future.

Using ice packs for back pain can help reduce inflammation. However, a person should avoid overusing ice or getting frostbite.

1. Stretch It Out

Stretching exercises help to ease back pain and improve back movement. If you are unsure which stretches to try, speak with your doctor or physical therapist. Remember to never push yourself too far when stretching; bouncing during a stretch can injure your muscles.

A lateral flexion stretch — gently bending the head to the side, toward your shoulder — helps relieve neck pain. Another helpful stretch is to relax your shoulders and bring one arm across the body until you feel a gentle stretch in the chest area.

2. Get Some Exercise

Exercise can improve back pain and increase the strength of your spine and associated muscles. Aerobic exercise can help get the blood flowing and help you lose weight, which decreases pressure on your spine.

Try brisk walking, swimming and water aerobics. Avoid high-impact aerobics such as jogging and running (especially on hard surfaces), tennis, and exercises that jar the spine. A good physical therapist can help you with a safe and effective workout for your back. They can also teach you how to exercise and stretch properly at home.

3. Get Some Rest

Your spine is a column of 24 bones, or vertebrae, that runs from the base of your skull to the tip of your tailbone and encases your spinal cord. Your spine is supported by muscles, ligaments, and disks.

Sleep is crucial for a healthy back. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night and ensure that you are sleeping in a position that does not put unnecessary strain on your spine.

Simple pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce back pain and soreness.

4. Get Some Sleep

Back pain can be aggravated by lack of sleep. Ensure you get enough rest by getting into a good routine and turning off the TV and phones before bed. A good mattress helps too, and placing a pillow under your knees while sleeping on the back may help with spinal alignment.

Try applying ice packs to your back several times a day, wrapped in a towel to protect your skin. It will numb the pain and reduce swelling. Alternate with heat therapy, such as a heating pad or a hot water bottle.

5. Stay Active

While a couch-based life watching your favourite series may sound tempting, being inactive for too long can cause muscles to change and make back pain worse. Try to incorporate low-impact exercise into your daily routine.

Maintaining good posture is another key to reducing back pain. Make sure you distribute your weight evenly when lifting and avoid slouching when sitting or standing for long periods of time.

If you’re worried about exercising too much, start out with small episodes of exercise and gradually build up. Even a 20-30 minute walk can be helpful!

6. Get a Massage

Getting massages on a regular basis can help ease tension, pain, and stiffness in your back. Moreover, it can also reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.

If you want to try doing your own massage at home, you can try knuckling, where you make fists and rub from the center of your back to your hip area. You can also try back spreads, where you open your hands and move them across your lower back gently. You can also use a foam roller. However, remember that a broken bone needs more specialized treatment to heal.

7. See Your Doctor

Back pain is often triggered by something specific, like a heavy lift or sleeping in a bad position. But sometimes it happens without any apparent trigger and just flares up out of nowhere.

Most back pain is minor and will resolve with rest, heat or ice and over-the-counter pain medications. But severe pain should be evaluated by a health professional to prevent underlying issues from getting worse.

8. Eat Right

Back pain is a common part of getting older. Various issues and circumstances can cause it, but you can often find relief.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help. A chiropractor can also recommend stretches and exercises that may reduce your back pain.

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your back. Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian for help in changing your diet. Talking therapies like cognitive behaviour therapy can calm your anxiety and help you cope with back pain.

9. Stay Hydrated

Your back muscles depend on water to transport nutrients, remove waste, and stay lubricated. Being dehydrated can make your back muscles sore and cause achy joints.

Discs in the spine are 75% water, and when they don’t have enough fluid, they can start to shrink. This can lead to herniated discs and more back pain.

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep your muscles in good shape and reduce back pain. You can also try consuming cherries, which have been found to help relieve muscle pain.

10. Relax

In addition to a regular exercise routine, stretching and strengthening the back muscles, taking over-the-counter pain relievers (like NSAIDs and acetaminophen) can help ease pain and reduce swelling. Talk to your doctor before you begin taking any new medications.

Don’t let the pain get you down. Try to stay positive, and use techniques like deep breathing or mindfulness meditation, which may help ease pain.

Conclusion

Applying ice to the area of an injury helps reduce pain and inflammation, and heat can relax tight muscles. Just remember to wrap the ice in a towel to avoid skin damage.

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