Can Back Pain Be Prevented and Treated?
Back pain may be preventable, and there are steps that you can take each day to keep it at arm’s length. Some common causes of back pain include the following:
Trauma – Often back pain stems from trauma, so avoiding situations where you are lifting heavy objects or at risk for an accident can go a long way towards reducing your chances of developing back pain.
Repetitive motion – Avoid repetitive motions, awkward postures, vibration and repeatedly coming into contact with hard or sharp objects.
Poor posture – A large amount of acute back pain stems from slouching; which desk jobs are notorious for encouraging. If you find yourself sitting for a large portion of the day, consider taking time to stretch and stand for periods of time. In fact, many workplaces are installing standing work stations for their employees that promote better posture and a healthier back. Also, examine the lumbar support of your furniture. Ergonomic furniture promotes good posture and keeps your spine from leaning too far forward or backward. It is also important that your chair be at a good height for your work surface, so you do not have to slouch or overextend in order to work.
Keeping your back healthy
Lifestyle changes are the back bone of a healthy spine and back, consider doing the following to reduce your risk of back pain:
- Quit smoking – Smoking reduces blood flow to the spine which speeds up the degeneration of the spinal discs
- Stretch before exercising (stretching should never hurt – if it hurts then it is doing more harm than good)
- When lifting heavy objects, lift with your knees, tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your head down and in line with your back
- Vary your position when sitting and take time to walk around and stretch
- Sleep on a firm surface and on your side, if possible (this reduces the curve of your spine)
- If you’re overweight, make weight loss a priority because (more weight encourages the spine to unnaturally curve)
Strengthen your core muscles
Strong core muscles including the “abs” are critical for reducing back pain. Indeed, the abdominal wall muscles splint the anterior section of our body between the rib cage and the pelvis providing much needed support to the spine in lifting the upper body. Regular core muscle strengthening exercises can go a long way in reducing low back pain.
Treating back pain
Treatment of back pain depends on the source of the pain and the amount of time since the pain was first noticed. Acute back pain can be treated with home remedies and often does not require a visit to the doctor. If the pain is not interfering with your daily life and is not affecting your ability to move, than there are steps you can take to reduce the pain you are experiencing.
- The use of cold and hot compresses may reduce pain and inflammation in some people. After the pain is first noticed, cold compresses should be applied several times a day for a maximum of 20 minutes.
- Following 2 to 3 days of this treatment, warms baths or hot pads can be used for short periods to relax muscles and aid blood flow.
- Since back pain often stems from inflammation, ibuprofen is a good over-the-counter option for treating your back pain. It works to stop the substance that causes inflammation at the site of injury, which reduces pressure on the nerves and subsequently reduces the pain.
- Exercising, particularly to strengthen the abdominal muscles, helps to gently stretch the back muscles and eases pain. Good activities to accomplish this include yoga, swimming and walking as well as strengthening exercises directed at the “abs”.
- Spinal manipulation and massage therapies work to return blood flow and restore the movement of the back.
- Licensed specialists like chiropractors may be helpful in cases of muscle strain.
- Similarly, skilled massage therapists can sense swelling in the back muscles and can use certain “hands-on” techniques to stretch the muscles and aid blood flow.
If a physician determines that you have chronic back pain, other cutting-edge treatments may be explored.
More features about back health:
For more information on treating back pain, visit the NetWellness features:
- Non-Surgical Treatment of Spine and Back Conditions
- Minimally Invasive Non-Surgical Treatments of Spine and Back Conditions
- Surgical Treatment of Spine and Back Conditions
Hope Through Research – You Can Be Part of the Answer!
Many research studies are underway to help us learn about back pain. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:
For more information:
Go to the Spine and Back Health health topic.