Back pain can prevent you from enjoying simple everyday tasks and miss work. Low back pain is the leading cause of work-related disability and the second most common condition for which people consult doctors. Around four in every five people experience back pain at some point in their life. Back pain can be dull, sharp, or throbbing and can be due to a fracture, sprain, injury, arthritis, narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), and fibromyalgia. Being overweight or leading a sedentary lifestyle are also reasons for developing back pain.
The good thing is most cases of back pain get better in a few days or weeks, and only rare cases need surgery. Simple home remedies and lifestyle modifications, such as practicing how to move while doing daily activities, can have surprising effects in preventing back pain and keeping it from recurring. Here are a few tips that might help you keep your back strong and healthy.
1) Good Posture
Most people have poor posture while doing their daily activities, which puts unnecessary strain on the back. Even if your back pain started after lifting weight or working out, the causative stress to the back might probably have been building for years. Slouching while sitting for extended periods can worsen back pain. Avoid slumping and sit upright, with the shoulders relaxed and your back taking support from the chair. You can also put a pillow between the lower back and seat and always keep the feet flat on the floor. Maintaining proper curvature of your spine relieves the pressure off the nerves and reduces back pain.
2) Sleep Right
Getting sufficient sleep is important, and so is the position you sleep in. A bad position while sleeping can cause back pain. To maintain your spine position, place pillows under your knees if you sleep on your back, and in case you sleep on your side, place pillows between your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it puts excess stress on the back and results in neck and back pain.
3) Quit Smoking
Smoking not just damages your lungs but can also cause back pain. A recent study found that previous and current smokers are more prone to back pain than those who have never smoked. Nicotine results in constriction of small blood vessels, reducing the blood supply to the vertebral discs and leading to degeneration. It also reduces calcium absorption, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. This can be prevented by quitting smoking.
4) Keep Moving and Exercise
Exercising regularly will keep you in good health and reduce back pain. Include core strengthening exercises, stretching, and aerobics in your workout routine. Stretching maintains spine mobility. You can walk, swim, or dance. Remember not to overdo it and exercise in moderation. Strenuous activities can worsen back pain. If specific movements cause pain, avoid them, and rest when the pain is severe.
5) Stay Hydrated
It would help if you drank a lot of water every day. Keeping yourself well hydrated is essential to maintain the elasticity of joints. Dehydration can affect spinal disks and make them shrink, making you more susceptible to painful back conditions. Disk herniation can also occur due to loss of fluid.
6) Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity or being overweight or gaining too much weight in a short amount of time are risk factors for low back pain. Too much belly fat puts extra stress on the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. A healthy diet, exercise, and staying active will help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.