About 80 percent of the population today experiences lower back pain at some point in their lives. Some will experience ongoing chronic back pain, which can significantly reduce quality of life, and stop them from many activities and tasks.
While doctors may prescribe a back brace or medication, there are other ways to relieve back pain as well. Here are nine ways that many people, and some studies, say can reduce back pain.
1. Limit Bed Rest
When your back is aching, you may want to lie down. But excessive bed rest is not good for your back or health. In fact, it may worsen your condition. According to specialists, it is recommended to be more active, rather than less, as long as it doesn’t exacerbate the pain.
When you rest excessively, it causes your body to ache and muscles to weaken, especially your back and legs. So, when you feel that your back is sore, try to rest for a few minutes and then take a simple walk or do light stretching instead of taking too much time to lie down.
2. Ice First, Heat Later
Heating pads and cold packs are very useful for many people who experience back pain. As per doctors and therapists, it is always advisable to apply cold or ice first before the heating pads, especially if there is swelling. This helps cool the area and decrease any swelling.
You can alternate between heat and cold. You can test what works best for your condition and comfort. As long as your skin is well-protected, you are allowed to do either or both of the two applications. Heat can help the muscles relax before stretching.
3. Take a Long, Hot Bath
Having a long and hot bath is one of the most underrated ways to ease pain especially in the back. This is because when your body absorbs the heat from your hot bath, the muscles relax. Adding epsom salts, which are rich in magnesium, helps relieve muscle tension.
However, taking a long and hot bath before you go to bed may keep you awake at night. The solution is to take your bath two to three hours before bedtime. A cooler body temperature is better overall for sleep, which is why sleep experts recommend you keep your home cooler at night.
4. Get Regular Massages
Treating yourself with regular therapeutic massages can improve your overall back health. According to studies, people who get regular massages have a lower percentage of extreme pain and stress in their back. Moreover, patients who have chronic back pain report that the intensity of the pain declines after treating themselves with regular massage sessions.
Therapists know which parts of your back to focus on, depending on where you describe the origin of your pain. And when these pressure points are naturally manipulated, the tension can be releases and the pain relieved.
5. Maintain a Good Diet
Diet can have a direct effect on back pain. Instead of grabbing and munching on unhealthy snacks and junk food that can increase inflammation, try foods that are rich in potassium and magnesium, such as bananas and spinach. Also, eat foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, such as flax and chia seeds.
Include lots of green leafy vegetables and fruits too. Not only are they rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber, they have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as well.
6. Perfect Your Posture
Your posture plays an important role in the condition of your back. When you feel some back pain, this can mean that your posture is lacking. To relieve this kind of pain, you need to pay more attention to your posture.
Practice better posture when you sit, stand, and lie down. Once you’ve trained your body and back, you will notice an improvement in your discomfort level. Try putting a book on top of your head and balance it as you walk, sit, and stand. Backs like to be straight. We all spend too many hours stooped over our smart device, so make a conscious effort to bring your head back into alignment with the top of your spine.
7. Physical Therapy
Along with massages, physical therapy is also helpful when you want to relieve back pain. Your therapist can guide you through activities that will help strengthen your back and reduce back pain in the future.
Some physical therapists practice inversion therapy—flipping their patients upside down—because when applied on a regular basis it can reduce back pain. Please note, it is always wise to consult a professional before applying a therapy on your own.
8. Strength Training
Strengthening your core muscles can improve your posture and in turn help you relieve your back pain. If the muscles in your abdominal area are not strong enough, your body finds other areas to pick up the slack and support your whole system. Most often, that means your back muscles. As your back is pushed to carry more of your body weight, or other things you may carry, the pressure can result in the pain.
Work with a personal trainer to pinpoint where you need to strengthen your core and how to do it safely so you don’t end up creating new problems.
During acupuncture sessions, the practitioner will ask you questions about your health and where you experience pain. This will help them determine the best placement of the needles to help release stagnant energy that can be leading to pain in your back from other parts of your body. So, even if the idea of acupuncture needles is unpleasant, you should try it to see if you experience some relief.
Having recurring back pain can destroy the quality of your life. Hence, it is essential that you pay attention to any signals your body sends, including back pain. While many people might rush to a doctor to get medication if pain persists, you could try these simple, natural, and very effective ways instead. You might get relief, and a healthier body besides.
This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com