8 Habits to Help Treat Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a common issue that can be prevented and alleviated. Just keep these habits in mind to help take care of your back.
Pain in the lower back, or low back pain, usually go away when treated by a specialist. However, you can also get quick relief with some complementary habits.
Low back pain is a common evil these days. 80% of adults suffer or have suffered from lower back pain at some point in their lives, according to statistics from the National Institute of neuralgic disorders in the United States. This condition doesn’t distinguish between sex since women and men suffer from it equally.
Low back pain: a quality of life problem
Treating low back pain is crucial for improving your quality of life. That’s because when you suffer from this condition, it affects your ability to perform activities as simple as sitting, getting up, and walking.
In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journals that was conducted in 187 countries found that low back pain is one of the main causes of work absenteeism. More than 4 million workdays per year are lost because of this condition.
Although low back pain disappears when treated, failure to do so can lead to chronic pain. The same study indicates that 30% of cases aren’t adequately addressed and become chronic or relapse within one year.
The research published by the Boston Medical Center is even more concerning. The study links poorly healed back pain to the death of 50% of older people who participated.
“Low back pain prevents daily activities, but older people tend to avoid them because they’re afraid of worsening their condition. That causes them to gain weight or develop other chronic health conditions that eventually lead to premature death,” explained Eric Roseen, the project leader.
Better habits, fewer problems with low back pain
Because of these reasons, it’s important to treat lower back pain early and to not let it get worse.
It’s always advisable to go see a specialist. In addition to what the specialist tells you, you can also follow these recommendations that will help you get some quick relief.
1. Apply hot and cold for low back pain.
Cold compresses applied within the first 24 hours of pain symptoms will help reduce inflammation.
- Put ice in a plastic bag and wrap it in a cloth or thin towel.
- Put the covered ice pack on your back for a maximum of ten minutes.
- Then, rest for ten minutes, and you can apply it again.
You shouldn’t apply heat in the first 24 hours since it can make the inflammation worse.
After, here’s what you need to do:
- Put hot water in a bag and wrap it in a towel.
- Put the bag on your back.
- Let it sit until it cools.
2. Don’t spend too much time in bed,
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders warns that laying in bed for long periods can worsen back pain. Additionally, it can cause other negative effects, such as depression, blood clots, and muscle atrophy.
Harvard Medical School also advises that people should spend as little time as possible in bed and to sleep on their sides. Also, they should sleep with their legs pulled up and they should put one pillow under their head and another between their knees. Hard mattresses are better than soft mattresses for back pain.
Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend resting in bed, but you shouldn’t exceed the amount of time they tell you.
Read this article: What Your Sleeping Position Says About You
3. Sit with correct posture,
Correct posture when you’re sitting is very important.
If you work sitting down, make sure that your backrest is firm and as straight as possible, making a 90-degree angle with the seat. Keep your back straight and the soles of your feet completely flat on the ground. Additionally, your knees should be aligned with your hips.
If you work with a computer, keep it at eye-level, no higher or lower. The keyboard should be close to you without you having to stretch your arms.
On the other hand, if you don’t use a computer and you have to write, keep the same position with your back straight, knees and hips aligned and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Never bend your back to lean on the desk. If you have to read something, hold the book or paper at eye level.
If you sit in an armchair, you should also keep your back straight. Avoid laying down. If you’re watching TV or talking to someone, don’t turn your hear or your torso. Sit straight to keep your head and torso straight.
4. Eat healthily.
You mustn’t gain weight while dealing with back pain. That’s because this will put more pressure on your back. Additionally, rest and inactivity increase cravings, so it’s best to resists temptation. Drinking water can be helpful with that.
Calcium-rich foods, such as acidic fruits, milk, cheese, yogurt and green vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, help strengthen bones. Also, foods that contain vitamin D are beneficial, like sardines, salmon and eggs.
5. Practice yoga.
Some yoga exercises can help relieve back pain and strengthen muscles. A study of 156 patients showed that yoga has a positive effect on low back pain.
However, you should always talk to your doctor or physical therapist first. Since everyone’s condition is different and, in some cases, yoga could worsen the problem. That was the case for 12 people who participated in this study.
6. Avoid bending over or bending your back.
When doing activities like sweeping, walking, cooking or something similar, avoid bending over or bending your back in any way.
Try to maintain an upright posture at all times.
7. Don’t stand on your tiptoes.
If you need to reach for something that is high up, look for a stool or something else to stand on. Don’t stand on your tiptoes, since this increases the pressure on your spine and back muscles.
8. Avoid lifting heavy objects.
It’s very common to have to lift heavy objects throughout the day, whether that’s your computer case or shopping bags.
In these cases, you should look for something to help you out, like a briefcase with a strap or a shopping cart. When pushing the cart, just make sure that the handle is at arm’s length and that you aren’t leaning into it.
Follow these recommendations while also doing the rehabilitation treatment recommended by your doctor. You’ll see how quickly your low back pain will improve and you’ll be able to keep that pain from getting worse and becoming chronic.