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5 ways to ease back pain

January 25, 2016 11:45 IST
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If you are tired of popping a painkiller every time you have lower back ache, here are few remedies that will help you soothe your sore back.

About 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime.

There are several common causes of lower back pain including herniated disk, muscle or ligament strain, arthritis, back injury or osteoporosis.

Depending on the cause, your lower back pain can be a short-term or long-term condition.

Here are five tips you can incorporate in your daily life for lower back pain relief.

Strengthen your core

Your abdominal muscles and back muscles play an important role in supporting your lower spine.

The problem of low back pain can be traced to having a weak core.

Your core doesn't get a good workout during the course of a normal day and need to be specially targeted through exercise.

There are many simple lower back exercises that can be performed in 20 to 30 minutes as part of a daily routine.

Hot and cold treatment

Alternating between hot or cold packs can reduce lower back pain and help accelerate the healing process.

You can apply heat or cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Never exceed 20 minutes, as it might damage your skin.

Cold therapy

Applying an ice pack has two primary benefits:

  • It reduces inflammation which is the biggest culprit for back pain.
  • It slows down nerve impulses which keep them from causing painful spasms.

Heat therapy

Applying a heat pack has two primary benefits:

  • It stimulates blood flow which supplies nutrients to the affected area.
  • It stimulates your sensory receptors and inhibits the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

Get enough restorative sleep

If you suffer from lower back pain falling asleep and staying asleep is an issue.

This pattern of interrupted sleep can cause insomnia.

According to the Journal of Applied Ergonomics study, approximately two-thirds of people with chronic back pain also suffer from some type of sleep disorder.

Ironically, insufficient sleep can make your back pain worse.

Though this vicious cycle can make you feel trapped, there are a number of options for treating sleep problems accompanied by chronic lower back pain.

Upgrade your mattress: This is an expensive proposition but it might be time to change your old mattress. When choosing a mattress, make sure you choose a firm or medium firm mattress so that it can supports your spine while you sleep.

Sleeping position: Put a pillow under your knees when you are lying on your back or a pillow between your legs if you are sleeping on your side.

Getting in and out of bed: Make sure you support yourself with your hands, bend your knees and lie down/get up on your side when you get in and out of bed.

Stretching

Stretching is beneficial everyone, with or without back pain.

Stretching is the easiest things you can do to help alleviate lower back pain.

Tight muscles in the back, legs, buttock, and around the spine can limit your motion and worsen your back pain.

There are many gentle stretching exercises that should not hurt.

Think ergonomically

Sit behind a desk for hours at a time can definitely cause low back pain or worsen an existing back problem.

Design your workspace in a way that you don't have to hunch forward to see your computer monitor or reach out for your mouse.

Use a desk chair that supports your lower back and allows you to keep your feet planted firmly on the floor.

These guidelines will help you maintain good posture and avoid straining your back.

The most important thing is your get up off your chair and move about every 1-2 hours.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Philips Communications/Creative Commons

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