Overlooked Remedies for Lower Back Pain Relief

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When we are enjoying good health and comfort, it can be easy to take it for granted. However, once lower back pain develops, you quickly begin to wish you could again take advantage of the good old days. If this describes you, understand that you’re not alone. In fact, according to a study performed by the UNC School of Medicine reports that around 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain in their life, and this all-too-common malady is the second most common cause of disability.

While this news sounds grim, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are a number of methods you can employ to decrease lower back pain, allowing you to relive the good times and express a greater appreciation.

1. Get Up and Move

Our bodies are intricately designed, and they were made to move around and stay active. However, a growing number of the population is engaging in more sedentary lifestyles. With a growing number of office jobs being made available, it’s not difficult to understand why. However, there are many things you can do throughout the day to get some movement to help promote proper spine health including

  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot at work, school, or the store.
  • Make time during your lunch break to take a walk around the block.
  • Invest in an adjustable desk that will allow you to work on your computer while standing or sitting down.
  • Sign up for a fitness class. Here you can meet other people who can help hold you accountable for regular attendance.

2. Take Time to Stretch

Remaining in the same position can cause fatigue and back pain, and it’s important to give yourself time to stretch many times throughout the day. It is ideal to get up and take a short walk at least every 30 minutes. If you work at a job where you frequently find yourself bending over, stretch your back the opposite way to provide balance. You could even consider engaging in the practice of Yoga which teaches you how to focus on stretching and learn ways you can stretch that will be personally helpful.

3. Proper Posture

Proper posture is crucial for back health and comfort. However, all too many regularly assume resting positions that are counterproductive to the maintenance of proper spinal alignment. It’s very possible that some or all of your lower back pain is associated with poor posture. The difficult thing about correcting your posture is that you have likely gotten into the habit over a period of many years, and old habits can be difficult to break. A few measures you can take to break the cycle and become accustomed to proper posture include:

  • While sitting in your office chair, think about lining up your ears, shoulders and hips.
  • To more evenly distribute the work done by the muscles in your back, scoot to the edge of the chair while sitting straight and alternate by scooting back and using the back of the chair for support.
  • Invest in ergonomic chairs that are specially-designed to help you assume the correct posture more naturally.

Bad habits can be hard to break. If you find you’re having a difficult time focusing on your posture throughout the day, there is a product that could prove well worth the investment. A posture corrector can be worn under your everyday clothes, and they help your back stay aligned throughout the day. Best of all, with helpful posture corrector reviews available at the click of a mouse, you can find just the product to meet your unique needs.

4. Go Shoe Shopping

Yes, a fun trip to the shoe store could prove to do more than boost your self esteem, especially if you frequently wear high heels. These types of shoes can put added pressure on your spine as well as make it difficult for you to maintain proper posture. As you shop, keep a few things in mind including:

  • Making sure heels are less than one inch
  • Making a tracing of your foot to use to quickly determine whether or not a shoe will fit right
  • Shopping in the afternoon as the foot is known to expand throughout the day
  • Taking a walk in shoes before making a purchase to ensure proper comfort
  • Asking an employee to measure your feet and help you pick the right pair to purchase

5. The Power of Endorphins

Endorphins are produced naturally by the body, and they can prove crucial in helping us feel good and more easily deal with pain. Rather than taking endless pills and other medications to alleviate your lower back pain, you can instead engage in activities known to cause the body to release endorphins. Just a few include:

  • Light candles scented in vanilla or lavender.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat spicy food.
  • Have more sex.
  • Have massage therapy.
  • Meditate.

6. Ensure Restorative Sleep is Achieved

Let’s face it. A typical day is usually very busy, and it can be difficult to manage both our personal and professional responsibilities while finding time to enjoy ourselves. The average adult needs at least seven hours of restorative sleep every night. However, even if you go to bed eight hours before you wake up, you may find you just don’t feel completely rested when you get up to start the new day. There are some tips you can follow in order to increase your sleep quality and decrease lower back pain including:

  • Turn off distractions such as the television or computer about an hour before bed.
  • Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime.
  • Create a bedtime routine such as reading or taking a warm bath about an hour before bed.
  • Turn off all lights in your room before getting in bed.
  • Consider the purchase of a new mattress.

7. Understand How Your Brain Impacts Pain Receptors

While it may take some time to get accustomed to the concept, you can reduce your lower back pain using the power of your mind. Your perception of pain dictates how you feel it, and there are things you can do to manipulate your pain receptors including:

  • Relaxation training
  • Hypnosis
  • Focusing on pleasant and relaxing images and memories
  • Deep muscle relaxation

There are many more ways available in which you can help your brain learn to significantly reduce the feeling of pain. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to make sure you pick what will be the most effective for your circumstances.

8. Pain Happens, Learn to Deal

Lower Back Pain

Once you’ve experienced once, it’s fairly inevitable that you will again suffer from lower back pain, so learning how to deal with it can go a long way toward bettering your life. Your first thought when suffering from pain may be to throw on a heating pad, but people smarter than we are say that’s not the best idea.

Warming the area up feels good, for sure, but all it’s doing is covering up the pain and relaxing the muscles, not dealing with the core of the pain. To stop the pain at its source, you need to go the opposite route, first, and hit it with a little cold.

An ice pack is a great first step, helping to get that inflammation down to more reasonable levels. Cold is typically a bit abrasive when first applied, but it’s going to help out more in the long run. After the first couple days of ice, go ahead and switch over to heat. Either way, don’t leave the hot or cold on there for too long. Aim for about 20 minutes before taking it off so your skin can have a little time to recuperate.

9. The Tools of the Pain Trade

Suffering lower back pain doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to help get around it. You needn’t suffer in silence when there are tools and medications out there designed to help relieve the pain you may be feeling. Not all of these are created equal, however.

If you’re going to go the pill route, which isn’t a bad idea if the pain is especially bad, there are several options you should consider. In the same way ice is used because it cools down the inflammation, you want a medication which does the same thing, not one which is simply going to mask the pain for a while.

For this, you want a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, often referred to as an NSAID. These include ibuprofen, which is Motrin and Advil, or naproxen, which is Aleve. Acetaminophen, which is Tylenol, will work, but research shows you’ll have a better time using an NSAID. Keep in mind, however, this shouldn’t be a permanent fix, as these medications can lead to gastrointestinal issues.

Aleve also puts out a product called a TENS device, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device. It doesn’t use any sort of medication, but instead sticks to your lower back and delivers electrical pulses to help ease the pain in your muscles. This isn’t something I’ve used, but it does have fairly good reviews.

10. The Power of the Rub Down

We mentioned massage therapy a bit higher as a way to release endorphins which can help fight lower back pain, but in a more direct sense, massage can actually directly reduce some of the soreness felt in the muscles by direct contact.

A great many Americans don’t necessarily see massage therapy as a viable medical practice, considering it more along the lines of something recreational, but this perception has begun to change. A survey performed several years ago saw the numbers of adults receiving massages jump dramatically, possibly indicating the changing mindset. One can assume in the years since the study was done, this has continued to rise, though perhaps not as drastically.

Additionally, many healthcare providers are now seeing the benefits of massage, and will sometimes encourage their patients to seek out massage therapy in order to combat lower back pain and other issues stemming from sore muscles.

Should the issue go deeper than the muscles, a chiropractor may be the better bet. Treatments performed by chiropractic experts, such as spinal manipulation and manual manipulation, can go a long way toward reducing pain from spinal discomfort. In this procedure, short motions are performed on the spine in order to reduce irritation of the nerves as well and to restore some range of motion.

Chiropractors can also perform something called “mobilization,” which, when looked at broadly, is something akin to massage therapy, but from a chiropractic point of view. In this process, the muscles and joints are adjusted and stretched to increase mobility.

11. Eight Hours Per Day

We briefly mentioned considering the purchase of a new mattress, but I would like to go a little more into that because a bad mattress can truly have a detrimental effect on your spinal health. Old-fashioned innerspring mattresses did an amazing job of wearing out somewhat quickly and causing back pain. It’s almost as though they were designed with this in mind.

Thanks to modern technological advances in mattress design, this is far less of an issue, though it can still happen. At the very least, you could find a situation in which your mattress choice exacerbates your condition, causing you to have more pain rather than relieving it.

One of the biggest advancements in mattresses was the use of memory foam as a sleeping material. Memory foam, sometimes referred to as visco-elastic foam, works in such a way as to contour to the shape of your body. Whether lying on your back or your side, or even your stomach, the heat from your body will help to soften the material, allowing it to give in the right areas to support all your angles.

There are variations of this, of course, ranging from a soft mattress to a firm one. Studies suggest people who suffer from lower back pain may have their best experience using a medium-firm mattress. This would allow you to have a softer, sinking experience while still giving you proper support.

If memory foam isn’t your thing, you may want to consider sticking with innerspring, but moving to more advanced individually wrapped coils. Unlike the old connected spring systems, these newer designs allow the springs to move independently of each other so your get support where you need it and the bed won’t sag and mess up your back.

We spend a significant amount of our lives sleeping, so making sure that rest is the best it can be is vital to making sure we live life to its fullest and aren’t bogged down by unnecessary pains.

12. Exercising the Right Way

When working to reduce lower back pain, some exercises work better than others. A combination of stretching and strength training is a great way to start, but doing something a little more intensive and focused can also be good.

Take, for instance, yoga, which we mentioned before. Yoga is like stretching taken to new heights. It also encourages proper posture and balance, both of which help strengthen muscles while relaxing others. Studies found yoga practitioners experienced less pain and more mobility than others who tried typical back pain relief methods.

A smaller study in Canada found great success for fighting back pain by doing Pilates workouts. These exercises strengthen your core muscles, which in turn help out your spine. They also helped to increase flexibility, which is never a bad thing when dealing with your joints and such.

Doing these slower exercises, and not the kind which could put undue strain on your lower back muscles, can really help you feel loose and ready to take on the day, rather than wanting to climb back into bed and cover up until the pain fades.

Living the Quality Life You Deserve

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the current average life expectancy is 78 years. Due to advancements in science, we’ve been able to increase life expectancy substantially over the years. While it’s exciting to know science is helping us live longer lives, quality is still important, and you don’t want to live yours in pain More people suffer with lower back pain than you may realize, but you don’t have to suffer. These tips have proven helpful for thousands all over the world, and a simple action on your part could offer you the relief you’ve long been looking for

About the Author Leslie Lovelace

Working on improving spinal health for people by teaching them the proper postures in both seating and standing to avoid back pains and complications on the spinal cord. I help disseminate news and information about spinal health and posture technologies through social media and our website.

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