Your lower back does an excellent job supporting the weight of your upper body. When you sit for a lengthy period or lift heavy items throughout the day, you subject your spine and back muscles to a lot of stress and strain. While many things can cause back pain, the main culprits are injuries, age, and physical activity.
Fortunately, there are many ways to alleviate or prevent back pain from worsening. Pain relief is about protecting your spine, strengthening your muscles, relieving pressure around the joints, and reducing strain. It also involves changing a few habits to maintain a healthy, pain-free back. Here are a handful of tips for dealing with back pain issues.
1. Visit a Chiropractor
While this may seem like an obvious first choice, many people delay this crucial step that could alleviate their back pain quickly. If you’re looking for relief from back pain, visiting a chiropractor is perhaps the best thing to do. Chiropractors help with a wide range of issues surrounding the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, but they’re especially good at treating back pain.
Due to its effectiveness in treating back, headache, and neck problems, chiropractic treatment has become popular and one of the highly sought-after treatment methods. According to IBISWorld, there are 185,264 people employed in the chiropractic industry in the United States as of 2023. This growing number only further supports the fact that these chiropractic techniques are tried and true and continue to help those with back issues.
Chiropractic treatment involves the use of various ways to help relieve back pain. Based on the findings, your chiropractor will work to create a treatment plan just for you. This plan may include spinal manipulation or adjustment, also called chiropractic adjustment. This is a treatment where a chiropractor applies pressure to the joints and spine to relieve pain, improve mobility, and reduce pressure on the nerves.
Manual therapies may include myofascial release, massages, and trigger point therapy. These help release tension in the ligaments, tendons, and spine. Rehabilitative exercise helps strengthen muscles around the spine and relieve pain. The exercises may also be accompanied by nutritional counseling. The chiropractor may recommend a certain diet and good sleep habits to help reduce back pain.
Aside from chiropractic treatment, there are many things recommended for you to do at home or in your spare time to continue the ease on your back. You’re most likely to see the results you want if you use many of these tips in conjunction with one another.
2. Maintain the Correct Posture
The best way to prevent and relieve back pain is to maintain the correct posture throughout. This can be particularly important for people who sit in the office, play sports, or have jobs that require repetitive motions. Avoid slouching, and aim to keep your spine erect. You can also invest in chairs, desks, and shoes that promote proper spine alignment.
Additionally, you can ask your chiropractor for suggestions on keeping your posture upright, taking into account any specific issues you may be dealing with. Those struggling with certain spinal deformities, such as scoliosis, may need techniques more tailored to their situation.
3. Use Ice or Heat
This pain relief method works if your back pain results from an injury or a strenuous activity that took a toll on your back, such as sweeping a large compound. Applying ice for the first 24 to 72 hours can help ease back pain and reduce swelling. If the pain is still there, switch to heat to help relax and promote blood circulation around the area. Don’t use heat or ice for more than 20-minute intervals to prevent skin damage and other issues.
If you struggle with chronic back pain as opposed to a one-time injury, continuous heat application may be a better option for you than the rotation of hot and cold. Using a heated blanket or commercial adhesive wraps are good options for those looking for this constant low-level heat application.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess belly fat ultimately causes the lower back and pelvis to slant forward. This creates a permanent and round arch in the back which leads to back pain. That’s why your doctor may recommend exercise and diet to keep your weight in check and relieve back pain.
Every pound you add strains your musculoskeletal system, which consists of ligaments, bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and joints. Extra weight means extra stress on the spine and joints. Chiropractic treatment may relieve pressure on your body that previously made exercise more difficult for you, so keeping your body at a healthy weight can be a give and take between you and your chiropractor.
5. Stretch More and Stay Active
Resting can be a great pain reliever if your pain is from an injury. However, resting with chronic back pain can worsen the pain and lead to other complications. Avoid resting for more than two days. Instead, get up and start doing minor exercises. You can also engage in other activities such as walking, yoga, and swimming.
Exercising has innumerable benefits. Apart from strengthening your muscles, exercising also reduces pain by decreasing pressure around your back. Stretching allows your body to maintain a normal range of motion, putting less strain on your body. Simple stretching exercises every day can not only relieve back pain but prevent it as well.
6. Invest in Proper Footwear
Wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes is a simple way to prevent back pain. Be sure to wear the appropriate footwear for the activity you’re performing. Avoid wearing the same kind of shoes every day. For instance, wearing flip-flops and high heels may put pressure on your lower spine because there is little to no arch support.
Low-heeled shoes reduce strain on your back while standing. Generally, go for shoes with less than one-inch heels to keep your lower back in good condition. Consider orthopedic inserts, even simple ones from the pharmacy, if you need further support. This is highly recommended for those with conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis who require this support to have a normal gait.
7. Consider Over-the-Counter Painkillers
After your first chiropractic treatment, you may feel soreness in the targeted area. Since you just had adjustments done, this is an entirely normal experience. If you feel comfortable, these over-the-counter pain medicines may relieve some of this ache, which should not last long. Remember: chiropractic treatment is done to make you feel better, not worse. These medicines are also a good way to manage moderate back pain in your day-to-day life as an alternative to seeing a chiropractor.
You can purchase over-the-counter pain relievers, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. These over-the-counter medications help reduce swelling, which can help with your back pain. To get maximum effectiveness, make sure to take them around the clock for several days. These drugs have side effects and may not be appropriate for some people. It’s imperative to speak to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication.
8. Try Physical Therapy
Physical therapists are some of the best people to help you keep your spine aligned and alleviate the strain on your lower back. They teach you safe and healthy exercises that you can do alone or with the help of a professional or family member. These exercises are designed to strengthen the core muscles that support your back. A strong core helps reduce back pain significantly. Like chiropractors, physical therapists will ask questions and go through your medical records to find the right exercises for you.
The exercises given to another person may not work for you. Your exercise must be tailored to your specific symptoms. Physical therapy for chronic back pain may involve testing the limits of pain tolerance, retraining your posture, and strengthening the core.
Don’t let back pain prevent you from engaging in the activities that you love most. If you’re unsure which method will work for you, talk to us today at Freeze Play Chiropractic & Cryotherapy, and we will be happy to point you in the right direction. Whether it’s chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, or easy at-home remedies, we want to get you back to feeling your best!