One of the most common reasons for patients to visit their Primary Care Physician is for back pain. Many of our Health Savings Account dollars are spent on back pain diagnosis The good news? There are simple things you can do to prevent back pain and to keep your back in good condition. And if you’re suffering from a back pain problem, try the following tips and you could be on your way towards feeling better.
A Good Night’s Sleep:
Those with back pain often do not get a good night’s rest, but peaceful slumber helps to repair strained muscles and soothe inflamed joints. To sleep better, begin with a good bed and experiment with different sleeping positions, like on your side or on your back with an extra pillow under your head. Additionally, some people find that sleeping with a pillow between their knees helps them sleep more comfortably.
Resting can cause certain types of back pain to worsen and decrease muscle strength. Start with gentle stretches and try experimenting to see in what ways you can move without pain. Go slow at first, start with an easy walk, and pick up the pace if it feels good. Regular exercise is also a smart idea — strengthening and stretching the muscles can reduce or eliminate many types of back pain.
It is common sense that the more weight you are carrying in your belly the more strain you are putting on your back. Maintain a healthy weight, and this will help. Losing 5-10 percent of your body weight will be the beginning of seeing and feeling a difference.
Yoga can be very therapeutic for back pain sufferers. By unwinding myofascial tightness and imbalances, increasing body awareness, and improving breathing involving fluid movement of the diaphragm, yoga is a good way to relieve your back pain.
Heat and Cold:
Switching between hot and cold therapies and seeing which is best for you should help alleviate some pain/
Physical therapists often recommend aquatic therapy for patients with back pain. This can include exercises done in warm, therapeutic pools — the buoyancy of the water helps deter strain on the joints — to encourage strengthening of muscles, gentle stretching, or floating to relax the muscles and release tension. Whirlpool baths work on the same principle: The heat encourages muscle relaxation and the movement of the water increases circulation. With home whirlpool units, try aiming the jets directly at your sore spots for a soothing underwater massage.
For short-term pain relief, over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are sometimes suggested. The most common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Potential side effects of NSAIDs include stomach and liver problems. Talk to your doctor if you don’t find relief after taking the recommended dosage.