Does Your Back Hurt a Lot? Here are 5 Things That Can Provide Relief
Have you ever found yourself wiggling around in your bed or sprawling on the floor, hoping and praying that your back pain subsides?
You’re not alone!
Even though back pain doesn’t get as much attention as other chronic diseases, it is one of the world’s biggest health problems estimated to affect about 80% of the world population at some point in life. It’s not a disease, but is a leading cause of disability and one of the most common reasons for medical visits and missed work.
Back pain is highly prevalent, often debilitating, and significantly impacts one’s quality of life. However, there are ways to get relief from back pain. Here are some tried and tested ones (apart from traditional medicines):
What Causes Back Pain?
While there can be multiple causes of back pain, age, overuse of the muscles, strain due to heavy lifting or a new activity, and accidents are some of the most common culprits.
Your first line of action, as soon as you get back pain, should be to use cold/heat therapy. It’s not only easy to apply, but is also highly effective in relieving pain. A common issues people experience in cold/heat therapy is that they don’t know when to use cold compresses and when should they opt for heating pads.
The rule of thumb is to use heat for stiffness and cold for reducing sharp pain and inflammation.
In case of back injury, an ice pack or a cold compress should be used for about first 48 hours to relieve pain and prevent/reduce inflammation. A hot water bottle or a heating pad is more helpful after the first couple of days. Heat relaxes the muscles and also improves blood flow, which then helps speed up the healing process.
If your back pain is the result of muscle soreness, you should use an ice pack.
It’s important to note that while heat and cold therapies are effective in relieving pain, they are only useful in the first few days or a week at maximum. If your pain doesn’t go away within this time period, you should opt for other ways and/or consult a doctor. Keep reading to learn what more you can do!
It may sound counterintuitive and you’re likely to find it difficult to exercise, when even slight movements are causing pain. But, there is a vast amount of scientific research available on how exercise can help with an aching back.
The right exercise can help loosen up tensed muscles and ligaments, strengthen them, improve flexibility, relieve pain, and also help prevent future problems.
While exercise is great for back pain, make sure to work with your doctor or a licensed fitness trainer to develop the right exercise program for yourself. Not all types of exercises can help with backache and some may even do more harm than good.
For example, leg lifts, sit ups, and toe touches should be avoided when you’re experiencing back pain. Partial crunches, hamstring stretches, press-up back extensions, and wall sits are some exercise that are generally helpful in alleviating back pain. Yoga and swimming are also good physical activities for backache. However, as mentioned earlier, it is strongly recommended to consult a healthcare professional to determine the right exercises for yourself.
Just like exercising, getting a good night’s sleep can be hard when your back is hurting. But, it’s essential for recovery.
It’s common knowledge that our body repairs itself during the sleep. Lack of sleep can hamper this natural restorative process, which then can make your back pain worsen.
Lack of sleep can also lead to higher inflammation levels, as the body doesn’t get enough time to produce anti-inflammatory compounds. Furthermore, research has also shown that sleep deprivation can make the brain more receptive to pain signals, which means you will feel more pain.
Poor sleeping position, bad mattress, and muscle fatigue resulting from lying on your back for extended periods of time are some other sleep-related reasons that can cause and worsen back pain.
Get enough and quality sleep every night to stimulate your body’s natural restorative processes and get relief from back pain. Make sure you’re sleeping in the right position – there shouldn’t be any strain on your back and your spine is in a neutral position.
Placing a pillow under your knees (when lying on your back) and between your knees (when lying on the side) can help with keeping the spine in the right position.Avoid placing the pillow under your shoulders; it should only be underneath your head and neck.
Note:It’s important to note here that while getting enough sleep is important for pain relief, doctors now strongly advise against bed rest for back pain, unless the pain is so severe that the patient cannot even sit or stand. Even in that case, bed rest is not recommended more than a day or two.
Stress Relief - Find Better Ways to Cope With Stress
We all know that stress often manifests itself physically. Tight jaw, clenched fists, and tensed muscles are all physical manifestations of stress. When stress causes tension and tightening of the muscles around shoulders and spine (which happens quite often), it causes pain, more likely in the lower back. The pain can also worsen the stress by impacting your mood and reducing the quality of life, which then can further increase the pain. It’s a vicious cycle!
If your back pain seems to be the result of stress, it’s worth investing time in finding and practicing stress-relieving activities. Sing, dance, listen to music, paint, do gardening, go out for a walk, or do anything that makes you relax and help you unwind. Several herbs have also been found to help the body deal with stress and also offer symptomatic relief. Read our blog post The 5 Best Herbs for Stress Relief to know which herbs offer the best help when you’re dealing with stress.
Just like there are herbs for stress relief, there are plenty of herbs that can help alleviate back pain. Even though herbs are not used as part of conventional treatment for back pain, they can offer great help. Some of the herbs that are known to help reduce back pain include turmeric, tart cherry, ginger, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. All these herbs are excellent anti-inflammatories and also have potent pain reliving properties.
You can get all these herbs in forms of organic tincture and capsules at Secrets of the Tribe. Click here to search for your desired herb
The Sum Up
Back pain may not get as much attention as obesity, stress, or depression. But, it can be equally (if not more) debilitating. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to manage and cure back pain in addition to traditional treatments and medications. The ones discussed above have not only been tried and tested, but are also scientifically proven to help with back pain. Try these out, but make sure to consult a healthcare professional to make an informed decision and ensure that you’re following them the right way.