Back pain is a common problem that many adults experience. With many people having a sedentary lifestyle, back pain has become a prevalent condition and it has contributed to a multimillion pharmaceutical and surgical correction industry just to address the problem. Around 31 million Americans experience low back pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association
When it comes to back pain, what can start off as a very simple feeling of pain can become truly debilitating when left unaddressed. There are many cases wherein the person is even rendered invalid, unable to walk, sit, or run due to the pain. In some cases, it is misdiagnosed as well as a pinched nerve, which makes things even worse. However, with the right diagnosis and treatment, back pain can be overcome.
More so, it can be managed even without medical intervention. But first, what really causes back pain?
Back Pain Causes
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the 9 to 5 workers who are constantly strapped to a chair that can suffer from back pain. In fact, even those who lead a very active lifestyle that can suffer more from back pain.
This can be due to carrying heavy weights during workouts especially for more intensive kinds such as Cross Fit, which requires the person to carry weights simultaneously in short periods or bursts. Spasms, tense muscles, ruptured disks may also cause back pain.
Sometimes, certain health conditions may cause back pain such as arthritis, scoliosis, kidney stones and endometriosis.
Exercises Plus Remedies to Relieve Back Pain
Here are some quick exercises and remedies to ease back pain naturally:
Contrary to popular belief, core exercises does NOT mean your six pack muscles (ie: your rectus abdominus). In fact, most people would benefit from strengthening the other muscles constituting the core, especially the transverse abdominus and the internal/external obliques.
Good exercises include rolling exercises and things that challenge you to keep your core stable (like bird-dogs).
Elbow plank, abdominal crunches, and push-ups are also core-strengthening exercises that help reduce back pain.
Most people breathe abnormally – you should be diaphragmatically breathing rather than “chest” breathing. Chest breathing can tire out the neck and chest muscles, which can also cause problems for your back.
Not sure how to breathe from the diaphragm?
Try this exercise: Lie down with your back flat on the floor and your knees bent. Put your one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale then exhale. You should feel the hand on your stomach move as you exhale. The one on your chest should be still.
Another key thing to remember when managing back pain is to ensure that you are also constantly moving throughout the day while employing several movements to keep the blood flowing in the area and that your muscles are engaged despite being seated for several hours.
Bruegger’s Posture – This stretching exercise can be done while sitting or standing. If standing, stand tall and spread your legs slightly apart. With your feet turned slightly outward, draw your belly in toward your spine. Bring your pelvis forward and lift your breastbone up. With your palms facing up, turn them and your arms outward and lift them up slightly away from the sides. Then, practice breathing from the diaphragm.
McGill’s Stretch – Dr. Stuart McGill, a renowned spine researcher, recommends 3 exercises to build spine endurance. These 3 are curl-up, bird-dog, and side-bridge.
Cat-Camel – This stretching activity should precede any exercise. Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, resembling a cat’s position. Stretch your upper, mid, and lower back by pushing your back towards the ceiling. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Go back to your starting position with your hands and knees on the floor. Press your stomach downwards as you push your buttocks upwards. Again, keep this position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise up to 4 times.
These exercises can be done even if you are limited with space.
Low impact routines
Another important way to remove back pain is by changing up your exercise routine by alternating low and high impact exercises. Including low impact routines such as swimming and yoga to your exercise regimen can help your back relax. Constant carrying of weights as mentioned can do so much damage on the back in the long run.
Pay attention to your shoes and your posture
It always pays to know the basics! Sometimes, being mindful of one’s posture and shoes is all it takes to turn things around for back pain. If you find yourself hunching over your computer or in your chair, remember to sit up straight, imagine a string pulling your head, and feel relief wash over you. Also, wear shoes that address foot and back pain. Your shoes should support the natural arch of your feet.
If you have flat feet, you definitely need supportive shoes.
Cold Compress for Back Pain
The quickest way to ease back pain is with the use of a hot cold compress. It can be with the use of a water bottle filled with warm water or a warm cloth placed directly on the back. It can also be with the use of a compress filled with hot stones that can be purchased from a spa. These can be popped inside a microwave for a few minutes and then wrapped with a semi-thick towel and then placed on the back while seated or in a supine position.
Pressure Point Massage
For those with more time on their hands, pressure point massage can do wonders. This is how athletes are able to recover from the strenuous exercise routines without risking dangerous injury. Massage also breaks down lactic acid, which in fact is the reason for the heavy and built up feeling that most people suffer from when they experience back pain. Also, with pressure point massage, the therapist can zero in on the problem area.
Sometimes however, massages can do little to help people who are suffering from back pain. If you want to relieve back pain without the use of medications, seek the help of a chiropractor. Chiropractors employ spinal manipulation and other techniques to prevent and treat back pain.