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How To Help Your Back Pain

Ways To Relieve Back Pain Naturally

Back Pain Relief Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

There are a wide variety of natural remedies to soothe your back, which can help reduce the intake of medications or provide an added benefit to your existing medical treatment.

Take a look at these natural pain-relieving strategies and find out what works best for you:

Read on to learn more about effective pain-relieving strategies for chronic back pain from natural methods.

Dont Slump Over Your Desk

When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. Its critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.

Rehydrate And Rebuild Your Nutrient Stores

Make sure that you are drinking enough fluids as dehydration and loss of electrolytes affect the length and success of your recovery. Low blood calcium, magnesium and potassium levels can affect some people who suffer from spasms.

These levels will fall drastically during intense exercise and can contribute to the problem of muscle contractions. If you allow these conditions to become chronic, you end up with muscle imbalances which will put your back at risk again.

A very good friend of mine told me about her chronic nightmares of spasms and pain. She tried everything only to finally resolve them by increasing her calcium, magnesium and potassium levels adequately with a supplement. It didnt take long for her to feel a lot better. She said it was like night and day. Its definitely worth a try if you havent considered it yet?

Read Also: Is Standing Or Sitting Better For Lower Back Pain

What To Look For In A Pillow

Your pillow should cradle your head and neck and help to support the upper portion of your spine.

If you sleep on your back, your pillow should completely fill the space between your neck and the mattress. If you sleep on your side, try using a thicker pillow to keep your head in line with the rest of your body in this position.

Whatever you do, dont place your pillow under your shoulders.

For back sleepers: You may do best with thinner pillows and those that have extra padding in the bottom to support the neck.

Memory foam is a good material that molds specifically to your own neck.

A water pillow is another option that gives firm, all-over support.

For stomach sleepers: You should aim to use the thinnest pillow possible or no pillow at all. In fact, you may try sleeping on your side while holding a body pillow. The body pillow will give you the feeling of something against your stomach while helping to align the rest of your body.

For side sleepers: You may want to look for a firm pillow. Better yet, try to find one that has an extra-wide gusset that will help with the space between your ear and shoulder. And dont forget to place a firm pillow between your knees. You may even substitute a rolled towel.

While youre at it, remember to change your pillow every 18 months or so. Those pillow protectors can be a good barrier, but pillows still hold lots of allergy triggers like mold and dust mites.

Bonus Tip: Soothe The Pain With Cold And/or Hot

45 best images about PT Exercise on Pinterest

Don’t underestimate the pain reduction of simply applying cold packs and/or hot packs to help reduce your lower back pain.

  • Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain. Some examples include wrapping ice in a cloth, a pack of frozen peas from the freezer, or a cold gel pack. Always keep at least one layer between your skin and the ice/cold pack.
  • Heat therapy helps improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. Heat therapy can come in many forms. It’s best to try several to find what works best for you. Taking a warm bath or shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heating pad or heat wrap are all ways to bring warmth to your lower back.

Whether applying ice or a heat pack, limit applications to 15 or 20 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to protect your skin. Never sleep with a heating pad or frozen pack as this can lead to permanent skin damage.

Hopefully these overlooked remedies can help you try some new approaches to better manage your lower back pain and find lasting relief.

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Find Activities That Make You Happy

Ongoing back pain can wreak havoc on your life, affecting your cherished relationships, finances, and your ability to get stuff done at work and at home. Finding activities that make you happy can help reduce some stress and may relieve some pain.

Some people find that even doing just 3 things that make them feel good each daysuch as enjoying a comforting cup of tea or coffee, calling an old friend, walking the dog, or receiving a longish 30-second hug from a loved onecan make pain more tolerable.

Even something as simple as laughter with a friend may stimulate feel-good endorphins.1, 2

When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency

Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:

  • Patient is a child
  • Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
  • Pain interrupts sleep

While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.

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Avoid Rushing Into The 2 Most Common Mistakes For Treatment

MISTAKE #1. Do not to rush into basic strengthening exercises such as sit-ups, crunches or lower back extensions. This may help for some, but in most cases, these areas are already tight, short and strong. Tightness and overly strong muscle conditioning is usually the case with the lower back and hamstrings.

MISTAKE #2. Simply resting and returning to your daily whatever. Werent you doing this JUST BEFORE it happened? No, my friend. There needs to be a plan and you are here for actual solutions right?

Observe the degree of your pelvic tilt. The three common positions are neutral, anterior and posterior. An excessive angle can trigger another spasm.

Exercises such as sit-ups and crunches can help but should not be done first as they are considered as isolation type exercises. They do not condition the core muscle groups to protect you. If you are in need of some specific exercises, begin with these 10 exercises.

What Are Some Complementary Alternative And Emerging Treatments For Lower Back Pain

3 Exercises to Help Relieve Back Pain

In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:

Platelet-rich plasma . PRP treatments use a small sample of your own blood that has concentrated amounts of blood building blocks known as platelets. Your doctor then injects the PRP directly into a damaged disc. The theory is that PRP injections use your own healing system to accelerate improvement of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. PRP treatment has a longer track record in knee osteoarthritis, but a recent review article in the Journal of Spine Surgery suggests it may have a useful role for back pain, too. PRP needs a lot more research before it can be considered a proven technique.

Stem cells. In this emerging treatment, your doctor injects stem cells harvested from your hip into the intervertebral disc or discs causing your pain. Doing so may lessen pain and the degenerative effects of aging, though, like PRP, more research is needed before stem cells for lower back pain could eventually become the standard of care.

Acupuncture. Your doctor probably doesnt perform acupuncture , but may support you trying it as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture involves careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on your body. This may stimulate the release of your natural pain-killing chemicals.

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Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery

Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.

Back pain rehabilitationspecialistAndrew Nava, M.D., offers insights into common chronic back pain causes and nonsurgicaltreatment optionsand advises not to give up hope.

Avoid Prolonged Static Posture

It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:

  • Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.

When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.

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Manage Or Reduce Stress

Stress can trigger muscle tension and painful spasms, including in the back. If long-term stress or a traumatic event seems to have caused back pain, a person can try stress-relief techniques, such as:

  • Mindfulness meditation.One study showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved back pain. Mindfulness involves being aware of what the body is doing and using meditation techniques to assist with the pain.
  • Deep breathing. Taking deep breaths in and out for several minutes can calm the bodys stress response.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and relaxing muscles in the body, focusing on one muscle group at a time. Lying on their back, a person can start with their feet and gradually move up to the shoulders.
  • Guided imagery. This involves focusing on specific mental images to bring about a feeling of relaxation. One study found guided imagery and music helps with work-related chronic stress.
  • Yoga. Yoga focuses on particular poses and breathing and can help with relaxation, especially when practiced regularly. One review found yoga to be an effective stress management tool.

Many smartphone apps are available to guide a person through relaxation techniques and meditation.

Living With Back Pain

Chronic Back Pain Doesnt Have to be Your Story ...

Living with back pain can be hard however, most people feel better within 6 weeks. Remember to follow your doctors directions. These tips may make it easier for you to manage your pain and recover:

  • Add exercises slowly and talk to your doctor about the types of exercises that are best for you or those that you should not do.
  • When sitting for a long time, get up, move around, and switch positions frequently.
  • Wear shoes that feel good and that have a low heel.
  • When driving a long way, try using support behind your back, and stop frequently to stand up and walk around.
  • Sleep on your side, and place a small pillow between your knees. If you tend to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. If possible, try to avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Limit the amount you carry. Instead, make a few extra trips to avoid carrying too much weight.

Also Check: How Should I Sleep For Lower Back Pain

What To Look For In A Mattress

Your mattress matters too.

Doctors used to recommend very firm orthopedic mattresses to people with lower back pain. But dont go out and buy one just yet. Recent surveys have shown that people who use extremely firm mattresses may have the poorest sleep.

That said, a mattress thats too soft wont help very much with alignment.

If you have the funds to buy something new, try choosing a firm or medium-firm mattress made with good-quality innersprings or foam. You may also improve the innerspring mattress you already own by adding a memory foam mattress topper.

It may be difficult to tell if that mattress at the store really feels comfortable after only a few minutes of testing. Some companies let you test out a mattress over a set period of time and then return it if its not for you.

Not in the market right now? You can see if a firmer mattress would help you by placing an inexpensive plywood board under your current mattress. You can even place your mattress on the floor to see if lessening the movement of the springs helps with your pain.

How To Tell If Your Lower Back Pain Is Muscle

by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019

The low back is a fairly complicated structure, so its no wonder the majority of peopleexperts estimate up to 80% of usexperience pain in this area of our bodies at some point in our lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctors office.

The key to relieving back pain is understanding the cause. But diagnosing the of a patients pain isnt always a straightforward exercise. It could be muscle, joint, or disc-related in some cases, it may even arise from issues unrelated to the back. So how can you tell if your back pain is muscle- or disc-related, or attributable to something else entirely? Well cover all the possibilities in this post.

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One Back Pain Treatment You Probably Dont Need

Back pain can be incredibly frustrating, and going under the knife may seem like the quickest, easiest fix to bring relief. But the truth is, many people dont need surgery for lower back pain management, Dr. Park says.

If your back pain is musculoskeletal, you will not require surgery, but if its a pinched nerve thats due to a disc herniation or something else, you may need to have surgery, he says. But even in those people, when you go through a six-to-eight-week course of treatment that includes physical therapy and activity modification, 85 to 90 percent of the time, they wont need surgery.

However, if you try the treatments above and dont see any improvement or still feel pain, talk to your doctor about a referral to a pain management specialist, as more specific tests or treatments may be required to get to the bottom of whats going on.

Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here.

How To Know If Heat Or Ice Will Help Your Back Pain

Get A Flat Stomach AND Help Your Back Pain!

Its no secret that using heat or ice therapy on lower back pain can bring significant relief. However, it can be trickier knowing which treatment to use and when. Every individual case of lower back pain is different, so knowing what to use and when can be tricky. Learning to understand your symptoms and what theyre trying to tell you can help you decide.

Finding Relief By Learning To Understand Your Back Spasms

How you use thermal Therapy to ease your symptoms will depend on the nature of your lower back pain. Its so effective it can be used as a form of primary treatment for this condition or as an adjunctive form of Therapy. There is some perception that thermal Therapy is just a band-aid treatment due to its inexpensive and simple nature. However, it can produce significant results for those suffering from lower back pain.

Thermal Therapy is often effective for the following conditions:

  • Lower back pain from herniated or degenerated discs, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis.
  • Injuries to the lower back from sports injuries, falls, sprains, and collisions.
  • Pulled muscles from overexertion or overstretching
  • Soreness from exercise, often the result of failing to stretch

Some guidelines for using thermal Therapy can be found below:

Read Also: What Type Of Bed Is Best For Lower Back Pain

Types Of Foods For Back Pain

The research is not all in, but theres significant evidence that points to the anti-inflammatory properties of certain foods and their link to reducing back pain. As we know, following a healthy diet is closely related to healthy bones and organs, and ultimately a healthy body. If youve been experiencing back pain, adding foods into your diet that squash inflammation can help you find back pain relief.

Bonus Tip: Consider Taking A Vitamin D3 Supplement

If your doctor agrees, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D is essential for bone, neuromuscular, and immune system function. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can help reduce back pain by increasing the absorption of calcium in your body and improving bone strength.15

See Calcium and Vitamin D Requirements

Finding the perfect pain relief technique is usually a process of trial and error, making it worth exploring various approaches. Try these natural pain-relieving strategies for your back pain and see what works best for you. Severe pain that is not relieved by self-care must be evaluated by a health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Read Also: What Type Of Mattress Is Good For Back Pain

Types Of Lower Back Pain

There are two primary types of lower back pain: acute and chronic.

  • Acute lower back pain is short-term, lasting for just a few days up to a few weeks. It is often connected to an identifiable event or injury. When acute back pain fades, there is no ongoing effect on mobility.
  • Chronic lower back pain goes on for three months or longer. In many cases, it occurs without a clear link to an initial injury.

Lower back pain that starts as acute may become chronic. It is estimated that around 20% of cases of acute low back pain persist and become chronic.

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