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How to Ease That Back Pain

 

Back pain is a very common problem and while it usually gets better within a few weeks, it is always wise to seek medical help if the pain is severe or gets worse over time.

In fact it is especially important to contact your doctor as a matter of urgency if the pain is accompanied by:

  • Numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • A loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Chest pain.
  • A high temperature.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • A swelling or deformity in your back.

In addition, seek help if your back pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night - and if your symptoms started after being involved in a serious accident.

 

What are the different types of back pain?

Sudden onset when one day you are fine and the next day your back is really painful.  It could be caused by a strained muscle or ligament from overdoing things, a slipped disc from lifting something that was too heavy or awkward.

Sciatic pain is when you suffer from shooting pain that radiates out from the lower back, down the buttocks and then into your leg.  It is caused when the sciatic nerve is irritated.  It could be from being overweight or from wearing high heels, putting pressure on the facet joints in your spine.  Poor posture can also contribute.

Lower back pain is when you feel a dull ache or a clenching feeling in your lower spine.  Sitting or standing for long periods as well as poor posture contribute to this condition.

Upper back pain can occur when the nerves, muscles and ligaments become really tired and strained, leading to pain and inflammation.  Poor posture and a habit of hunching over a desk or computer can be the cause. 

 

Different ways to ease that back pain

Gentle cycling can be very helpful as the moderate and rhythmic movement of such exercise keeps your back moving. 

There are three minute chiropractic exercises you can do to help improve posture and prevent that back pain.  Find out more here.

Try standing on one leg as this works the core stability muscles to protect our backs but that do not get used enough.  At the same time, this helps to restore balance and improve posture.  Apparently, we often have a tendency to lean to one side.  When trying this exercise, stand on your left leg until you start to feel wobbly.  This is the signal to change to your right leg.

Reflexology is another way to alleviate back pain.

Yoga and Pilates are two more types of exercise to consider.  Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it.  Here is some more information.  Regular Pilates will help improve flexibility as well as strengthening the back muscles, making them less susceptible to injury.

If you have to work at a desk or a computer for hours on end, ensure you get up and move around every thirty minutes.  Using a stand up desk is another good idea.  If you are sitting, keep your back straight, shoulders down and back while your elbows should be relaxed at your sides.  Avoid crossing your legs.

Another point to remember is to keep the neck mobile both to strengthen the muscles and to improve the range of movement.  You can achieve this by (every few hours) taking the trouble to look over your left shoulder, then your right shoulder, then tipping your head by taking your ear down to your shoulder and then the other ear to the other shoulder, all the while keeping your eyes fixed on the horizon.  

Lying on your side in the foetal position with a pillow between the legs can bring relief while only using one pillow when you sleep means you won't be overstretching the upper back and neck muscles.

Having a soft tissue massage can help reduce discomfort by relaxing muscle spasms and releasing endorphins.

 

An exercise tip that works for me

Many years ago, I had surgery for a slipped disc and, although this was very successful, occasionally I will suffer from lower back pain.  This is the exercise I have found to be very helpful.

Lie flat on your back on the floor, lifting your legs straight up into the air, bending them at the knees and resting your feet on a dining room chair.  Try and relax and stay in this position for at least twenty minutes.  It seems to help things to get back into sync.  Repeat this exercise whenever you need to - and you have some time to spare.