If you’re like most people, you have a back – and that back gets painful every now and then. Ok, so we’re joking a little but it’s to make a point. Back pain is something we all experience some time in our lives. We all try different remedies to treat it. Some soak in a tub with Epsom salts, others get a massage while many just rely on drugs to treat the pain. Well our experts have scoured the web, read reviews, researched articles and have compiled our Top 10 Expert Tips list for back pain, and here it is!
10. Stay OUT of Bed
Contrary to what may seem natural, limiting bed rest may actually be the best thing for a bad back! Studies have shown that the average person with short-term lower back pain usually feels better with less rest and MORE activity. “Patients should avoid more than three days of bed rest,” says Dr. Mike Flippin, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon at San Diego Medical Center.
9. Accessories Matter
This may be the oddest one on the list but how you accessorize your outfit in the morning can to a long way toward the health of your back. Sitting on a thick wallet shifts your pelvis upward on one side which tweaks your vertebrae and causes pain over time. Carrying a heavy purse, backpack or briefcase on the same shoulder every day has the same affect on your upper back and neck. So take a tip from the minimalists of society; switch to a thinner wallet or e-wallet and try carrying a tablet instead of a laptop to reduce weight.
8. Don’t Ignore It
When it comes to back pain of any kind, if it lasts for more than 3 days, don’t ignore it. Also, don’t go to your general doctor or chiropractor. Go to an expert who has actually seen all the components of the back from the inside. Get a consultation with an Orthopedic surgeon. They will be able to determine if a serious issue exists such as a herniated disc, spinal bone spur or some other ailment. These specialists are the best ones to help prevent further damage and get you on the road to recovery sooner.
7. Work It Out
As with every part of the body, regular exercise does wonders. But don’t just grab those dumbbells and start pumping out rows right away. Perform some simple back stretching exercises first and get your body warmed up on a treadmill before hitting the weights. When stretching, stick with ballistic style stretches which incorporate movement and ease your muscles into activity versus static stretching which can cause damage to your back and impact your workout.
6. Lube It Up
There are a whole host of natural supplements on the market which can go a long way to helping you have a healthier back. For instance glucosamine has been shown to ease joint movement and provide greater fluidity. Calcium and magnesium go a long way to keeping your bones and cartilage healthy. Not into popping pills? arnica gels and creams can also be very helpful when applied topically to the area. Keep your back in tip-top shape and you’ll be moving easier and take less time to recover when having back pain.
5. Hippie Tips
Into the natural healing powers of Mother Earth? Then white willow bark and devil’s claw are the way to go for pain relief. Both of these herbs can be readily found at a natural health food store and work to relieve pain and decrease inflammation.
4. Drop The Smokes
Not only does smoking impact your lungs, skin, blood and pretty much every other part of your body, it has been shown to restrict blood flow to the spinal discs which leads to hemorrhaging of their protective fluids. When this happens your spinal vertebrae grind together and pinch the nerves that flow between them, causing severe back pain which often can only be corrected through surgery. So if you’re smoking, stop.
3. Nun Smack
Remember the old time movies where the nun would smack the kid with a ruler for slouching? Well Sister Mary Ruler Smacker was onto something. Maintaining proper posture keeps your spine in its proper shape and position, allowing healthy blood and electrical flow to your entire body. If you’ve seen seniors at the grocery store walking around like Quasimodo with a giant hump, chances are high that they slouched a lot during their working years.
2. Take That Gravity
The biggest enemy we have our entire lives (as far as our back is concerned) is gravity. The force that keeps us on the planet is also wrenching away at our back day in and day out. Put gravity to use in the opposite direction by getting an inversion table. These little gadgets are great for allowing you to safely flip upside down in a standing position, letting the weight of your body uncompress your spinal column. Read reviews before you buy as there are literally over a hundred of these tables on the market and they’re not all created equally.
1. Chill Out
Not only is stress the #1 secret killer in America, it also plays a huge factor in back pain. When you’re stressed your muscles tighten up, your lymphatic fluids back up and your whole body hurts. Whatever you do to relax, be sure to make time for it this week. It will go a long way to relieving your pain.
Dr. Scott Katzman is a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in spinal surgeries.