Back pain. We’ve all had it. Some worse than others. Either from straining yourself moving furniture or maybe you have a legitimate condition – like arthritis. It goes without saying that if it’s serious, it’s worth consulting a physician. If, for instance, you’re feeling tingling or numbness after an accident, or even just muscle weakness, you may want to call up your neurologist or GP, but if it’s noting major, there a plethora of things you can do at home before even hitting the drugstore.
1. Working on Your Posture is an Absolute Must
There’s a reason this is on the top of your list. It is essential that you work towards maintaining the natural curves of your spine. If you’re against a wall, your shoulders should be back, your chest should be up and your head should be evenly above your spine and not jutting forward (this is commonly noticed among people who spend a lot of time at a desk starting at a laptop screen). Walking, or even sitting with bad posture causes your spine and associated muscles and ligaments to lose alignment. This causes stretching and tugging of muscles in the wrong places, resulting in strain and backache and it can very easily be avoided by sitting and walking the right way. Figure out a posture that places the least stress on your back. Stand with your legs at shoulder width and try going for a desk and chair that is ergonomically designed to provide the most back support. Even sitting on a yoga ball instead of normal chair can work wonders, or better yet, a standing desk!
2. Work on Your Core Muscles
Your abs go a long way in stabilizing your lower back muscles. Your lower back and abs are not exercised significantly unless you go out of your way to do so. Plenty of great stretches and exercises can be found online. Try crunches for your core and the cobra stretch for your lower back to get started. Proper form is essential and for that you’ll need to watch tutorials of these videos online.
3. Using Cold Therapy is a Great Idea
Placing an icepack on your back is a great idea, because it slows down the process of inflammation and even serves as a local anesthetic by delaying your nerve impulses.
4. Alternatively, Heat Therapy is Great, Too
This may seem counter intuitive, but both are great options (though obviously not at the same time) for very different reasons. Go with what works for you. Some people prefer a hot bath or shower, while others prefer having a hot water bottle while they sleep. This speeds up blood flow to the area, bringing the essential nutrients needed to heal. Additionally, the heat antagonizes the pain mediators going up to your brain – so there’s a double benefit.
5. Stretch for Back Pain
This may seem unexpected, but consider stretching your hamstrings. Often, these get taut and then pull on your sacroiliac joints, resulting in lower back pain. The culprit may be further down than you imagined. Stretching this muscle group a couple of times a day could be exactly what you need.
6. Get the Right Sleep
Sleep flat on your back, or on your side, but never on your stomach. Make sure you get enough sleep – 8 hours should be enough and sleep with a hot water bottle under your lower back – or wherever it hurts.
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