You shouldn’t have to live your life in pain or discomfort. 80% of people will experience back pain at some time, but there are ways to find relief. Finding the cause and figuring out the most effective way to relieve it is the best place to start. Read these Tips To Relieve Back Pain At Home to find relief today.
What Can Cause Back Pain?
Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs (the structures that serve as cushions between the bones in the spine) tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
One of the most common causes of lower back pain is spinal misalignment. This is called a subluxation and treated by chiropractors.
Spinal subluxations occur from improper lifting, poor posture, stress, and more. The pain is generally local and doesn’t radiate into the arms or legs but can be severe and persistent.
Ignoring these misalignments leads to accelerated wear and tear on the spine and faster degeneration, much like ignoring your wheel misalignment leads to a flat tire.
Spinal subluxations can even be the underlying cause behind disc herniations and degeneration.
What’s causing the ache?
Your spine consists of individual bones called vertebrae, which are stacked one on top of the other. Between each vertebra are small joints that allow your spine to move, as well as disks with jelly-like centers that act as shock absorbers and prevent your bones from rubbing against each other.
As we age, the discs between the vertebrae wear away and shrink, which causes pain and stiffness as the bones start to rub against each other. In addition, the space around our spinal cord narrows over time.
This condition, known as spinal stenosis, also puts pressure on the cord and spinal nerves, causing pain. Decreased bone mass, or osteoporosis, can also make the vertebrae vulnerable to fractures. The facet joints where each vertebra meets those vertebrae above and below may also begin to degenerate, which is known as spinal arthritis.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica.
Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own.
If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a Chiropractor. However, depending on the source of your back pain and its severity, you might try a few home remedies for low back pain to help ease the pain until your back returns to normal.
Ways to Prevent Back Pain
Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, there are many different actions you can take to help alleviate your back pain or prevent it from getting worse.
It’s all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting your spine, and strengthening your muscles. Changing a few daily habits can help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back for a long time.
Sleep with a pillow under your knees
Sleeping on your back puts pressure on your spine. Elevating your legs slightly relieves this pressure on your back as you sleep. You can cut that pressure in half by placing a pillow under your knees.
- Work your core
The numerous health benefits of exercise are well-known. A regular strength-training routine that focuses on your core muscles can help reduce your risk of back-related injuries, such as strains and muscle spasms. Try incorporating back and abdominal strengthening exercises into your workout at least two times per week to develop a stronger, more flexible back.
Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake
Strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis. It’s one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, particularly for women. Keep the bones in your spine strong by consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is in:
- leafy greens
- vitamin supplements
Vitamin D is in:
- fatty fish
- egg yolks
- beef liver
Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Change your shoes
Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes to prevent back pain. They reduce the strain on your back while standing. Shoes with less than a 1-inch heel are the best bet for your back.
Good posture isn’t just a way to look more proper. It protects the intricate pieces of your spine to keep them healthy and functioning properly. Bad posture puts strain and stress on your back and can change the architecture of your spine. Avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways when standing.
Don’t slump over your desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. It’s critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
Whether you’re at an office party or a bar for happy hour, avoid sitting in an awkward position or standing in one place. Move around the room to avoid putting pressure on your spine, which can happen if you stand in one place for too long.
Put out that cigarette
We all know smoking is a serious health risk, and smokers are also more likely to experience back pain than nonsmokers. One reason for this is that nicotine restricts blood flow to the disks in the spine.
This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.
Lighten your load
Improper or heavy lifting is a common cause of back pain, but it doesn’t only happen to people who lift heavy boxes on the job. Carrying a bulky laptop bag, suitcase, camera, or a load of groceries can also cause a strain on your back.
Whenever possible, take some weight off your shoulders by carrying less, distributing the weight to both sides of your body, or shifting the weight from shoulder to shoulder. Consider using a rolling cart or bag with wheels for heavier loads like bags of groceries or boxes of files.
Standing, sitting, or lying down in one place for an extended amount of time isn’t healthy for your back. Relieve the strain of the day whenever you can by getting up, walking around, and doing some simple stretches. This will help improve circulation to your back. It can also ease any strains or aches that occur due to inactivity.
Tips to Relieve Back Pain
Most acute back pain gets better with a few weeks of home treatment. However, everyone is different, and back pain is a complex condition. For many, the pain doesn’t go away for a long period, but only a few have persistent, severe pain.
1. Enjoy an anti-inflammatory drink every day
When you consume anti-inflammatory foods regularly, several antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer agents can build up in your blood.
Over a period of time, these potent agents can play a significant role in reducing and/or eliminating inflammatory reactions in the body. Consuming these healthy drinks on a regular basis may help reduce your back pain.
- Keep Active
In times past, bed rest was often suggested for treating acute back pain. Today, your doctor will likely advise you to maintain your usual activities and avoid extended bed rest. In fact, the first-line treatment for both acute and chronic low back pain is to remain active.
Walking and avoiding sitting for long periods may help. Even if you find it painful, try to walk for a few minutes each hour. Gentle stretches before your normal activities may also be beneficial.
Be sure to discuss any activities you normally do that might result in further back strain, such as heavy lifting or twisting, with your doctor. They may be able to suggest modifications that are back-friendly. Your doctor may also recommend stretching and exercises you can do at home.
3. Try Exercise Therapy
Tai chi is an ancient martial art that involves slow, graceful movements and incorporates meditation and deep breathing. Although research on the use of tai chi in the treatment of back pain is somewhat limited, there’s evidence that practicing tai chi may help alleviate back pain to some degree
Yoga is an effective way to stretch your back, improve the health of muscles and joints, enhance the distribution of healing nutrients through blood circulation, and increase the flexibility of the spine. When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain.
Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. An ideal time for yoga is early morning—to help loosen your spine and also reduce stiffness and aches in your back.
- Hot & Cold
When choosing between heat and cold, you may be a better judge than your doctor. Nerve fibers that carry pain sensation also sense change in temperature. As a result, stimulating the nerves with either heat or cold can diminish your discomfort, so you can choose which one to try. Both may ease your pain.
On the other hand, some experts advocate heat or cold based on the potential effects on blood flow. Applying ice or a reusable gel pack constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling around the injury. This is particularly useful for conditions, like a sprained ankle, that causes significant swelling.
Heat has the opposite effect, increasing blood flow to the area. This relaxes muscle fibers, which can help when you experience spasms or stiffness.
When to Seek Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage and relieve swelling and pain caused by low back pain. Routine chiropractic care provides patients with low back pain treatment that’s a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain medications, which are commonly prescribed to patients to help them manage their pain and swelling.
Chiropractors deliver a gentle, non-invasive, non-addictive therapy, known as a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments reduce joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine and other joints in the body in an effort to reduce inflammation and improve the function of both the affected joint and nervous system.
By increasing joint mobility and improving your nervous system function and spinal health, your body has the ability to better manage symptoms caused by low back pain.
Below are some of the health benefits chiropractic care and chiropractic adjustments can provide patients with low back pain:
- Reduced pain and discomfort
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved range of motion
- Improved flexibility
- Increased muscle tone and strength
To see if chiropractic care is right for your condition, contact a chiropractor at Team Health Care Clinic for a consultation and exam.
Based on the findings of our chiropractic exam and consultation, your doctor of chiropractic may elect to co-treat your low back pain with other healthcare professionals including massage therapists, physical therapists, or other primary care physicians.
Back pain is something a lot of people suffer from, but there are many ways to reduce back pain at home. It can be caused by a variety of factors including, but not limited to: posture, inflammation from straining, or age.
There are also further options to help more severe cases that at-home remedies can’t help completely. Natural remedies such as anti-inflammatories, keeping active, exercise therapy, and hot/cold treatments can relieve minor symptoms. Chiropractic care is a great starting point for those who don’t know where to look when at-home treatment isn’t working.
With an adjustment and consult, you may find underlying reasons back pain has become an issue. Your chiropractor will aid you in the search for back pain relief and help create a treatment plan to treat, or even just correct your back pain.
If you are looking for a Chiropractor in the Champlin area, we would like to invite you to come to our office for an Exam.