Back pain is a common affliction for many Americans. In fact, some experts estimate that over three million people each year report back pain and problems in the United States. Other estimates claim that 80% of people experience back pain at some point in their life. It is one of the most common reason people visit the doctor.
What Kind of Pain Do You Have?
Back pain can be acute or it can be chronic. For some people, it consists of constant dull aching pains while for others there is sharp pain, making movement impossible. The causes of back pain are many and often difficult to diagnose. Injuries, sedentary lifestyle, bad posture, and other medical conditions can all contribute to back problems. While pain medication is useful in alleviating back pain, there are some other approaches to use to manage back health and curb ongoing back pain.
A good first step is to take a self-assessment of your health. Are you overweight? Do you spend a lot of your day stooped over your desk? Do you get exercise? Do you smoke? There are basic good healthy living behaviors that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will reap benefits.
Keep Up Good Habits
Regular exercise, including proper stretching, is critical to easing and curbing back problems. Many back problems are caused or exacerbated by lack of motion and reduced blood flow. Stretching and light exercise can bring relief. Back pain is also exacerbated by extra weight; be sure to keep your midsection weight down to your ideal weight. Finally, do not smoke since smoking restricts blood flow to spinal discs.
Both waking and sleeping posture is an important consideration with regard to back health. If you sit at your office all day, be sure you use a chair with a proper support. Your knees should rest a tad higher than your hips. Keep your body’s core pulled in and tight. Also, take short breaks to walk about and give your body a rest. Sleep is important for overall health, but if you have back pain, you may struggle to find a comfortable position. Some experts recommend sleeping your side and avoid any sleep while on your stomach. You want to make sure your lower back is at ease and that your body is in alignment while you sleep.
What to Avoid
What you wear and carry with you are also important factors to consider. Women should avoid overly high-heels which can shift one’s center of gravity and put strain on the back. Both men and women should avoid clothing that affects the ability to easing walk, sit, or bend over. Accessories such as backpacks, briefcases, and purses should have proper straps and should never be overstuffed. Finally, be careful how you lift things. Be sure to always bend your knees, squat, and then pick up heavy objects. Bending directly over from the waist to life is a sure way to initiate or rekindle back problems. Avoid twisting or jerking when you have to move heavy things.
Our backs are wonderfully complex parts of our bodies. They serve to support us and should be treated with care. Anyone who has experienced back pain knows that the discomfort can be very strong and even debilitating. With proper care, your back will stay healthy, allowing you to lead a full, pain-free life.
This article was written by Justine Brewer. Justine loves to write anything fitness and healthy related.