Back pain prevention requires a comprehensive approach that stresses proper diet, exercise and posture. Working together, these three components can help create a stronger back that can easily carry the body’s weight throughout the day. While the causes of back pain are as diverse as the people who suffer with the problem, several key factors are commonly found in most diagnoses.
Exercising to Strengthen Muscles
Regular exercise is essential for muscle health, and the back is no different than the rest of the body in this respect. Along both sides of the lower spine, muscles allow a person to bend over, and they take much of the stress off of the bones that make up the spinal column. Weakened muscles are a natural part of the aging process, but exercising can improve overall tone and strengthens the tissue that is lost with time. For best results, a person should consider the benefits of working with a trainer and discuss their concerns with their family physician before working out on a strenuous level.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Because the spinal column is tasked with supporting the weight of a person’s entire upper body, many people suffer because they have put on excessive pounds. By embracing a healthy diet, consumers can stop back pain and reduce the chances of muscle spasms or cramps. With less weight to support, the spinal column has fewer stressors, and many people rely on a combination of diet and exercise to strengthen muscle tone and improve bone density.
The bones that make up the spinal column also require the right types of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function their best. Calcium is an essential component of bone tissue, and the mineral is commonly found in milk and other dairy products. In addition to having plenty of calcium, vitamin D is another component of a healthy diet that is required for optimal bone health. While many dairy products are enhanced with Vitamin D, consumers can also get plenty of the substance by spending time in the sun.
Relief from low back pain is also possible with the proper posture. Many people who suffer from sciatica spasms and other types of lower back pain may be forced to sit in front of a computer or phone all day. Focusing on proper posture while at work can eliminate many problems, and stretching is essential to keeping the spinal column in proper alignment. A person should always strive to sit upright, and finding a comfortable chair that offers proper alignment is an easy way to enjoy optimal posture.
Lift with Your Legs
Correctly lifting heavy items is another crucial component of eliminating muscle spasms in the lower back that cause pain, and heavy lifting should be done with the legs as much as possible. While bending over to lift something is usually easier, it can stress the spinal column and causes many people to feel as if they can’t move.
Seeking Medical Attention
Getting treatment from a medical professional is another way to eliminate back pain, and most physicians can offer their clients X-rays and other types of imaging to ensure that no bones are broken. Because back pain can be debilitating and cause a person to feel as if they can’t walk, anyone should consult their physician if they encounter:
- Numbness, cramps or tingling
- Severe pain that does not improve with rest
- Pain after a fall or an injury
- Trouble urinating
- Numbness in your legs
- Weight loss when not on dieting
The Differences Between Acute and Chronic Back Pain
Acute back pain usually has a rapid onset, and it may last for six weeks or less. It is the most common type of back pain and may be associated with improper lifting or physical injury. Chronic back pain is differentiated by the amount of time that the condition lasts, and most experts view any pain that lasts for more than three months as a chronic condition. While chronic back pain is much less common than acute pain, it can be more debilitating and is often treated with prescription medications.
In addition to pharmaceutical products, a wide range of home remedies are commonly used to treat back pain. For many people, a warm compress offers relief because it helps the body heat up and improves blood circulation throughout the lower back. On the other hand, many people prefer the benefits that are associated with cold packs. The cold temperature reduces the pain that is associated with swelling, and the packs are an ideal way to relax at the end of the day.
Particular treatment options depend on the type of pain that a person encounters, and a wide range of different medications are readily available. Any type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ANSAID) works for minor pain and can ease momentary suffering by reducing inflammation.
Because most people spend close to a third of their time in bed, preventing back pain may be done with improved sleep positions and a better mattress. Proper support is crucial during sleep, and without a responsive mattress, a person may only exacerbate the pain in their lower back.
Finding the Perfect Mattress
While a super-soft feather bed may seem like a great idea, it can actually cause more harm. Firm mattresses are usually preferred for people who suffer with lower back pain because the added support helps keep the spinal column in alignment during the night. For sleeping partners, beds that allow one person to sleep on a different level are a great choice because they can keep both parties comfortable during the evening and at work the next day.
Flipping and Replacing Mattresses
Over time, mattresses are put through a lot of pressure, and they may deform. Ideally, a mattress should be flipped around twice a year and be fully inspected for any signs of damage, wear or divots. Much like anyone would replace their running shoes after a few months because of the amount of stress that the shoes go through, a mattress should also be replaced, preferably every five to seven years.
Finding relief from lower back pain often requires a comprehensive approach that allows a person to identify the causes of their discomfort. Sometimes, the pain is easily solved by replacing a mattress. On the other hand, behavior modification may be essential for anyone who is overweight and suffers from spasms or aches at the end of a long day.