Back pain is one of the most common health complaints in the U.S., as 75-85% of Americans will experience it in their lifetime. The pain can be frustrating and can significantly impact your quality of life. The good news is that you can manage the pain at home before seeing a back pain Westfield specialist. Finding relief for your back pain at home can range from exercises to simple changes to your everyday routine. Here are five tips for managing back pain at home so you can take control of your back health.
One of the best ways to manage back pain is to stay active and exercise regularly. Exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in your back, which can help to prevent or reduce pain. You don’t have to start lifting weights or running marathons. A simple walking program or basic stretching exercises can make a big difference. If you are unsure where to start, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about an exercise program that is right for you.
Use heat and cold therapy
Applying heat or cold to the affected area can also relieve back pain. Heat therapy increases blood flow to the area, which helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Cold therapy numbs the area and can help to reduce swelling. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm compress for heat therapy. For cold therapy, you can use an ice pack, frozen vegetables, or a cold compress.
It is crucial to maintain good posture when you have back pain. Slouching can strain the muscles and ligaments in your back, leading to more pain. When sitting, keep your back straight, and your shoulders rolled back. When standing, keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet. And when sleeping, sleep on your side or your back with a pillow under your knees. For work purposes, use a standing desk or an ergonomic chair to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your back.
Change your lifestyle
Making simple lifestyle changes like losing weight and avoiding smoking can also help to reduce back pain. If you are overweight, losing even a few pounds can take pressure off your back. Smoking inhibits blood flow to the spine, leading to the degeneration of the disks and other spine problems. Quitting will reduce inflammation and pain.
You should also manage your stress through techniques like relaxation, as chronic stress can contribute to back pain. When stressed, your body produces hormones that can lead to inflammation. This can make existing back pain worse and can also cause new problems.
Stretch your muscles
Stretching the muscles in your back can also help to reduce pain. You can do several different stretches, but one of the simplest ones is the Cat-Cow Stretch. To do the Cat-Cow Stretch, start on your hands and knees with your back in a neutral position. As you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling like a scared cat. As you inhale, arch your back and look up towards the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink down towards the floor.
Don’t let back pain hold you back
Managing back pain at home does not have to be complicated. By following these simple tips, you can take control of your back health and find relief from pain. If you are still experiencing pain after trying these tips, it is time to schedule an appointment with a back pain specialist at Genesis Orthopedic and Spine.