By: Brian Acton
If you’ve ever suffered from back pain, you know that it can severely affect quality of life. Sufferers of back pain will have trouble doing the activities they used to enjoy – such as sports and exercise – or, if the pain is severe enough, they may even have trouble with day to day activities like getting around the house.
We’ve compiled some advice on how to deal with your back pain, help prevent it from worsening, and maybe even provide yourself some relief.
Don’t Switch to a Sedentary Lifestyle
When suffering from back pain, its tempting to avoid movement altogether. While switching to a couch-potato lifestyle has its appeal – namely, avoiding the movements that are causing you pain – it can actually make things worse for you in the long run. Staying active keeps your spine more flexible, while constant inactivity is linked to numerous health problems, weight gain, and depression. Research has also shown that the more fit you are, the more your body can resist aches and pains.
Back pain is enough of a challenge. Staying active helps keep the pain manageable and keeps other problems from piling on. Even brief, regular walks can make a huge difference in quality of life when the alternative is staying glued to the couch.
Use the Right Sleep Position
Did you know that the sleeping position you choose could have a major impact on your health? We spend one third of our lives asleep, and the wrong sleeping position can affect neck and back pain. Sleeping flat on your back without too much pillow support is generally considered the best practice. If sleeping on your back is uncomfortable or causes snoring, try sleeping on your side (but not in the fetal position). Cervical pillows can help properly align the spine when sleeping.
Whatever you do, avoid sleeping on your stomach. It forces your head to one side and can cause or worsen neck and back problems.
Practice Good Posture
Good posture and spinal alignment places less stress and strain on your back. If you have a desk job, avoid slouching or hunching toward your screen - good lumbar pillows will help for comfort and posture when sitting.
When you bend over or lift, make sure to use your knees, rather than your back, to do the majority of the work. Don’t twist your spine to the point of strain, either – simply turn your whole body.
See a Professional
All these tips, as well as practicing healthy habits such as a good diet, not smoking, and getting enough sleep can help you keep your back in good – or, at least, manageable – shape. But for advice and treatment that is customized to your specific body, you should see your doctor and get him to recommend you a specialist. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to see a massage therapist, a chiropractor, or a pain management professional. A professional doctor you trust can help you seek the treatment and relief that’s right for you.