Back pain plagues millions upon millions of Americans, and can significantly impact quality of life. Even though many may worry their constant pain is there to stay, there are many lifestyle tweaks and tips you can apply to help get some relief. Let’s take a look at a few:
- Know when to go for hot and cold – It may help to make extreme temps work for you. Those with long-term arthritic back pain may benefit more from using a heating pad (electronic ones are great), whereas those suffering from more acute or inflammatory back pain may benefit more from ice. Alternating between ice and heat can help as well.
- Get topical – Speaking of temperature, there are some wonderful creams out there that alternate between cold and hot sensations that may help take the edge off back pain. Topical NSAID cream can also be very beneficial.
- Go, physio! The right physiotherapist can really change your life. If you’re used to constant back pain and just thought it would have to be background noise for the rest of your life, a good therapist can help you change that. Physiotherapists who specialize in back pain have some great tips and stretches specialized just for your body to help ease your pain.
- Check your posture – we’re all guilty of hunching over the laptop too much or slouching a little on the couch, but all this poor posture can really catch up on an already bad back. It is so important to train yourself to sit up tall, and walk with your shoulders back and straight. This will help retrain those muscles in a healthier fashion.
- Get a pocket TENS machine – Portable transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machines are often used in physiotherapy to help with pain. TENS machines work by sending pulsing electrical stimulation into the nerves, which are thought to interrupt or help redirect pain impulses in the brain. You can buy portable TENS machines.
- Ask your doc about non-narcotic options – it isn’t a great idea to start down the road of narcotic pain pills for a chronic back issue as they can be addictive and can cause many unwanted side effects. However, there are plenty of other medication options out there such as NSAIDs, corticosteroid shots or even antidepressants such as amitriptyline (they can work for pain as well).
- Keep moving – even though it may seem counterintuitive when you just feel like constantly resting a bad back, it may be doing you no favors to lie around. You have to practice caution when exercising with a bad back, as many activities can further strain it. Walking, stretching and swimming are all good choices for activities that may help strengthen a weak back instead of further hurt it.
Hopefully our tips can help your back! Thanks for visiting EMC!