Back pain is one of the most common complaints that doctors hear about.
Sometimes you know the reason for back pain – a simple straining lifting something heavy, an injury due to playing sports, an auto accident or maybe even a work related injury. Other times you have no idea what you did or didn’t do to ignite the pain.
When the back muscles are overused or wrongly used, you can feel pain for a few days and then you might notice an improvement. If your back pain doesn’t go away after taking over the counter pain relievers, then you need to seek medical help. You may have a more serious problem that can result in chronic pain.
Back pain may also be a warning sign that you need to change your ways. Don’t bend over and pick up your child or a heavy object without first bending your knees, and then lifting.
Improper lifting is a leading cause of back pain and disc damage. Your body may also be trying to tell you to sit up straight and stop slouching in your desk chair at work. Another message from lower back pain is that your mattress is too soft or too hard to promote comfortable sleep.
If the mattress is too hard, you can add a down-filled or egg crate-cushioned top to the mattress. A too soft mattress probably needs to be replaced also if it doesn’t support your back.
When back pain strikes, you need to limit strenuous activities and get extra rest. Women need to trade heels for flats or at least wear lower heels.
Those stiletto heels that are all the fad are practically a business builder for neurosurgeons when you consider how much damage long term wear will do to some women.
Choose to sit in a chair with a firm, straight back. Stay away from over-stuffed chairs or sofas that you sink into. In your car, set your seat straight and move slightly closer to the steering wheel. You want to keep your knees bent to reduce the strain on your back muscles as you drive, particularly if you regularly drive long distances. If you’re driving a lot during the day, pull over to a safe location and get out to stretch.
When you’re sitting at your desk, get up frequently for stretch and movement breaks. Walking is a fantastic exercise for back problems. It’s much safer than running because at least one foot is in contact with the ground and there’s no strain on the knees from pounding the pavement as occurs with running.
If you have to stand for long periods or even long enough to do the ironing, place a short stool beside you. Alternately place one foot and then the other on the stool. Keep your back straight.
This is one way to reduce the negative impact of standing. Back pain makes you rethink how you do things and find ways to adapt that both reduces pain and prevents further damage.