Bah Humbug, Back Pain

Your back is important to almost every move you make, but you probably won't realize that until you hurt it. You may not be surprised to learn, however,  that back pain is one of the most common medical conditions amongst people of all ages. Everything from poor muscle tone and being overweight, to improper twisting or lifting can send your back into pain. And sometimes, back pain can just happen for no obvious reason at all.

So while you may not be able to turn back time and prevent it all together, there are easy ways to ease back pain and to help prevent it in the future.

Home for the Holidays

The good news is, simple at home remedies may be more effective than you’d think—as long as you stay patient. To ensure you are correctly caring for your back and supporting proper healing, make sure to follow these tips:

Rest in bed as little as possible—a few days at most—as too much bed rest weakens your muscles and could slow your recovery. Get up and move around as soon as you can.

For the first 2 days, use ice or cold compresses. Wrap a towel around a bag of ice and place it against the painful area for up to 20 minutes. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables. This will change to fit the shape of your body.

After the first 2 days, if you’re still experiencing pain, soothe your back’s muscles with heat. Try a heating pad, take a warm shower, or soak in a warm bath.

Know when to go to the doctor. Some types of back pain can take upwards of 6 weeks to fully heal. Furthermore, if you notice any numbness in your leg(s), you’re experiencing bladder or bowel problems or pain doesn’t go away after a week or two, it’s time to see your doctor.

Put a Freeze on Back Pain

Even if you've had back trouble, there are easy ways to help prevent future discomfort. Here are some of the best ways to care for this important part of your body:

Maintain good posture. Poor posture can cause pain by increasing pressure on the disks.

Sit in a chair that supports your lower back. If you don't have a supportive chair, place a small pillow or rolled-up towel against the curve in your lower back.

Exercise. Strong back muscles can reduce your risk for injury. Strong arms, legs and belly muscles can reduce the work your back has to do. Aerobic exercise, like walking or biking, increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your back muscles. 

Choose your exercises carefully, though. For example, running may not be good for a weak back. Swimming and water aerobics support your back while you exercise. Walking is also a good choice. If you've had a serious back injury, you should talk with your doctor before you start exercising regularly.

Maintain a healthy weight. This will lessen the strain on your back. Your doctor can help you determine a healthy weight.

Learn how to lift properlyWhen you bend to pick something up—even a child—bend at your knees and keep your back straight. You may have to squat or kneel. This puts the stress on your legs and they are stronger than your back. When you pick up an object and carry it, hold it close to your body. The farther it is from the middle of your body, the more it strains your back.

Pay attention to pain or twinges. If you feel back pain during an activity, stop and rest. Your body may be trying to prevent you from harming your back.

Have a Pain Free Holiday

Back pain is always hard to cope with, especially around the holiday season. Instead of worrying about pain, let the experienced specialists at the Back Pain Center help you get back to the important things this holiday season. Utilizing the extensive resources, advanced technology and the expert care at Gwinnett Medical Center’s Back Pain Center will provide you with the relief you’ve been waiting for. 


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