Back pain may not be a life-threatening condition, but it can still be extremely frustrating. Apart from the physical discomfort of the pain itself, the slightest stiffness or ache can keep us out of action and seriously affect our mood. Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce or prevent back pain.
Given that we spend about a third of our time sleeping, it should come as no surprise that the position we sleep in will have an effect on our backs. There are a few different ways to improve your posture and address this issue using just a pillow. Depending on which position is most comfortable for you, you can sleep on your side, front, or back. If sleeping on your side, bend your knees and place the pillow between them. If you prefer to sleep on your back, place the pillow under your knees. For the front, place it under your hips. These positions will help relieve the lower back of a lot of stress and reduce back pain.
While rest can often help relieve pain, it can also be a contributing factor. If the pain is acute e.g. the result of getting hit, then a few days’ rest is a good idea. But if the pain has slowly crept up on you and lasted for more than a few days, rest is not the answer. Staying still will only cause the muscles to tighten, and reduce circulation. Light exercise will help get the muscles, blood, and lymph flowing, and send that back pain packing.
More Vitamin D & Calcium
One of the major contributing factors to back pain as we age is poor bone health. Conditions such as osteoporosis can be extremely limiting and difficult to treat, so ensuring your bones are as healthy as possible is wise. We need calcium for healthy bones, but we also need Vitamin D to absorb it efficiently. Increasing your intake of both is the best course of action you can take in the long-term.
Go Shoe Shopping
It may sound too good to be true, but some of the soundest medical advice you can get for dealing with back pain is to go shoe shopping. Your shoes affect your stance and gait, which also have a huge effect on your posture. This problem is actually far more pervasive than we think, as many of us just buy shoes we like without thinking about whether or not they provide proper cushioning and support. To learn more about how a new pair of shoes could help your back pain, head on over to our blog on Choosing the Right Shoe for Your Foot Type.
There’s no shortage of viable, health-related reasons not to smoke, but when you hear about the negative effects of smoking, back pain doesn’t usually come up. In reality, smoking reduces the flow of blood to the spinal disks, which can cause them to crack and break down. The reduced circulation also negatively affects the surrounding muscles and tendons, leading to more pain.
Back pain can be extremely frustrating and difficult to put up with, but we hope that these steps will help reduce the frequency and intensity of the pain. If you have tried to reduce your back pain and have been unsuccessful, a visit to a physiotherapist may be required.