Back pain takes various forms, from a persistent, dull ache to sudden sharp pain, and has many causes. Sometimes it can result from a sprain, fracture, or other accidental injury. It can stem from a disease or medical condition, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or spinal. Many people develop can also back pain in part because they’re overweight or sedentary. The good news is that lower back pain usually gets better within a few days or weeks, and surgery is rarely necessary. What’s more, simple self-help strategies such as these can be surprisingly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning. Read on to see our list of 11 ways to avoid back pain!
Get more exercise
If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. A day or two of rest may help, but more than that may not help the pain. Experts now know that regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
Watch your weight.
Extra pounds of fat, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your center of gravity and putting strain on your lower back.
If you smoke, stop.
Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain. It also can prolong the healing process, for that nutrient-rich blood that’s been restricted also contains proteins designed to repair injuries.
If you’re prone to back pain, talk with your doctor about the best sleeping position. Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest is sometimes suggested. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. Sleeping on your stomach can be especially hard on your back and is not recommended. However if you can’t sleep any other way, place a pillow under your hips. Ultimately your mattress may be part of the problem, if so replace it.
Pay attention to your posture
The best chair for preventing back pain is one with a low-back support. Keep your knees level your hips while seated. Prop your feet on a stool if you need to. If you must stand for a prolonged period, keep your head up and your stomach pulled in. If possible, rest one foot on a stool — and switch feet every five to 15 minutes.
Be careful how you lift
Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend at your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Don’t twist your body while lifting either. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects. Pushing is easier on the back.
Avoid high heels
They can shift your center of gravity and strain your lower back, not to mention mess up your feet!! If you must wear them, try to stick to a one-inch heel. If you have to go higher, bring along a pair of low-heeled shoes and slip into them if you become uncomfortable.
Lighten your wallet
Study after study has shown that sitting on an overstuffed wallet causes your hips to be crooked, which causes back pain. If you’re going to be sitting for a prolonged period – while driving, for example, take your wallet out of your back pocket.
Pick the right handbag or briefcase
Buy a bag or briefcase with a wide, adjustable strap that’s long enough to reach over your head. A messenger bag (like the ones bike messengers wear) is made to wear this way. Having the strap on the opposite shoulder of the bag distributes the weight more evenly and helps keep your shoulders even and your back pain-free. When carrying a heavy bag or case without straps, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the body. A good brand to check out is Ameribag. To lighten the load, periodically purge bags, cases, backpacks, and other carriers of things you don’t need.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Peaceful slumber helps to repair strained muscles and soothe inflamed joints. For a better night’s sleep, start with a good bed and experiment with different sleeping positions. Tempur- Pedic, for instance, helps keep the body in a neutral position regardless of how you sleep. That way your body is always in the optimal position for healing.
Hot N’ Cold
20 minutes of heat, followed by 20 minutes of cold therapy does wonders for the healing process. A hot compress brings to the affected area fresh blood, nutrients, proteins and white blood cells. These work together to help remove and repair damaged tissue. On the opposite side, a cold compress causes blood to move away from the area, removing with it damaged tissue and excess fluid. Repeating this procedure helps to speed up the healing process.