Ultimate strategies to reduce back pain and its treatment

Introduction

Back pain is one of the most common reasons to miss work and also a leading cause of disability worldwide. Fortunately, you can take several measures to avoid back pain like stretching, nutrition, proper postures, and avoiding injury.

Reasons for back pain

Back pain can be triggered by several factors, following is the leading cause of back pain

Muscle or ligament strain

Repeated muscle strain caused by exercise or a sudden awkward movement when playing sports can strain back muscles. If you’re in bad shape not properly warmed up before pursuing exercise or sports you can tear your muscles ligament causing back pain.

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition of joint disease that can cause wear and tear of joint cartilage and bone, resulting in back pain. Exercise is very helpful in preventing back pain from arthritis. It can help you lose weight and the strength it can add to your muscles can go a long way to preventing arthritis.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes bones to become thinner. They not only lose their strength but are more likely to break easily. Your backbones support your body and osteoporosis can cause fractures leading to disability and pain. Eat a diet that includes enough calcium and vitamin D for bone health. A balanced diet is also helpful in controlling body weight.

Age

Back pain is more common as you get older, starting around 40. Since old age causes loss of bone density and reduction in testosterone which reduces muscle mass. In order to reduce the effect of aging one should take care of diet and exercise. Eating a balanced diet that provides calcium and vitamin D is vital for bone strength for older people. Regular stretching and exercise can increase muscle mass.

Lack of exercise

Weak muscles in your back, glute, and core might lead to back pain since they don’t support your spine. Exercise targeting those weak muscles and fixes postural misalignments to relieve back pain. Regular aerobic activities can increase the strength and endurance of your muscles to function better. Walking and swimming are good aerobic exercises with minimum strain to the back. Abdominal and back muscle exercises can strengthen your core helping you to function properly and reducing the impact of stress from bad posture and other external strain.

Excess weight

Excess body weight puts extra enormous stress on your back. Being overweight can strain your back muscles. Losing excess weight not only relieves you from back pain but also puts less stress on your core and legs. So if you are experiencing back pain and overweight then losing weight is recommended to relieve back pain. The best way to reduce weight quickly is reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity which doubles down the effect. Even reducing few kilos can have significant benefits to your body which can lower the impact of back pain.

Bad posture

If you sit a long time without taking regular breaks, you may adopt poor while sitting on chairs such as slouched shoulders and an arched lower back.

  • While standing maintain a neutral position. While standing don’t slouch and maintain a neutral pelvic position. If you need to stand for long periods find ways to reduce the impact on back by taking support. Good posture can always reduce the stress on back muscles.
  • While sitting support back. Choose your chair with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Change your position frequently so that you are not putting pressure on muscles for long time.
  • Don’t lift heavy smart. Avoid heavy lifting but if you must lift maintain a proper form by keeping your back straight to avoid twisting. If you are lifting heavy in gym slowly increase your weights and do proper warm ups before lifting heavy.
  • Take regular breaks. Taking regular breaks from sitting a long time is the most effective way to reduce back pain. If you sit for long time for your work taking break every 45 minute for 5-10 minutes will boost productivity and reduce back pain.
  • Better sleep posture. If you are sleeping with bad posture try to change the sleep posture to support your back. Having a good mattress and pillows will definitely help you to get good posture and reduce the back pain in morning.

Smoking

Smokers are at a higher risk of back pain. Smoking prompts more coughing, which can lead to a slipped disks. Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of back pain.

Exercise to relieve back pain

1. Plank. Plank is one the best exercise to increase the core muscles strength which reduces back pain. However, doing the plank with proper form is extremely important since not doing it with proper form can actually worsen the situation. Progressively increasing the timing can help you tone your core and back muscles.

2. Squat. The squat is the king of exercise and is extremely effective in giving your legs muscles and core muscles huge strength. You can start with bodyweight squat then progress to some weight. Doing heavy weight squat with improper form is bad for back pain so if you plan to do it first do it with a lower weight with proper form and slowly increase the weight.

3. Deadlift. The deadlift can give a huge boost to bone density and muscle mass so it’s one of the most effective strength training exercises for all. To reap the benefit of a deadlift you need to do it with proper form and don’t do it more than twice a week since it can be too much for the body to handle.

4. Crunch. Crunches build core muscles so doing it regularly with proper form is good for back pain.

5. Pushups. The pushup is one of the best exercises for upper body strength but also is good exercise for core muscles. Doing different variations of pushups can be helpful in gaining muscles and increasing bone density to relieve back pain.

6. Bridge Pose. The bridge pose of yoga is one of the best yoga positions for those suffering from back pain. Yoga is one of the best ways to stretch your muscles and a bridge pose can give your back muscles flexibility and strength.

7. Cobra Pose. Cobra pose is also very effective for lower back pain. Doing it regularly is of enormous help to those suffering from back pain.

8. Walking. Walking is an easy task for everyone but is surprisingly healthy. It not only tones your leg and lower back muscles. It burns a ton of calories if you do it regularly and it’s good for the mind too if you walk in nature.

9. Cycling. Cycling is one of the best aerobics which can burn a ton of calories without causing stress to your knees if you are overweight. So if you like cycling outside it can be fun but the exercise cycle can also be your best friend in your weight loss goal which can reduce stress in your back and relieve back pain.

10. Swimming. Swimming is very good for burning a ton of calories without putting strain on your legs and back. It can tone your body and help you reduce weight.

Nutrition and back pain

Nutrition and food are some of the main reasons for the health and well-being of all. If you suffer from poor or sub-optimal nutrition it can worsen the effect of back pain.

Poor nutrition can cause diseases. For example, a diet lacking in calcium will cause osteoporosis. Or a diet excess in calories will cause obesity both diseases can contribute to back pain.

If you add extra nutrients or food substances can have a positive effect and often reverse disease. A food high in vitamin D and calcium can eliminate osteoporosis. Eating a diet high in protein can enhance muscles mass which can contribute to the strengthening of back muscles thus reducing back pain.

A well-balanced diet with adequate protein, vitamins, and minerals with the right amount of calories can help you not only live longer but also minimize many diseases caused by deficiency of nutrition.

Vitamin D: Food high in vitamin D includes mushrooms. Vitamin D can be found if you get adequate exposure to sunlight however exposing too much to the sunlight is bad for the skin.

Proteins: You need to eat a diet rich in protein since they are building blocks of cells. Good source of protein includes chicken, seeds, and nuts.

Calcium: Calcium is found in dairy products and vegetables.

You also need to eat a good amount of leafy vegetables which can be a good source of antioxidants and necessary vitamins and minerals.

Obesity and back pain

The industrialization has had a tremendous impact on our food since its abundantly available anywhere. The food can be found all over the year without interruption which also includes unhealthy processed food products. Being overweight or obese can exacerbate back pain if you have osteoporosis or arthritis since the extra weight will put more pressure on your muscles and spines. If you are overweight or obese, there are many ways to lose and maintain healthier body weight. This is even more important because if you have back pain since you need to be extra careful while doing exercise not to worsen the back pain which can stall the weight loss journey.

Proper nutrition is one the most powerful tool to reduce weight. Since obese people need more nutrition to maintain their weight so they overeat. Eating nutrient-dense food will control the cravings to reduce the calories count which can help in the long term to reduce the weight.

Planning the food for calories and nutrition is all the more important by taking help from a person who is knowledgeable to guide you towards weight loss.

Treatment for back pain

If your back pain is bad and needs a doctor to assess your ability to sit, stand, walk. These assessments help determine the cause and severity of pain and can also help rule out more serious causes of back pain.

You may also need to test for back pain like:

  • X-ray. X-ray can help you find whether it’s arthritis or broken bone causing back pain.
  • Scans. Scans can generate images that can reveal slipped disks or problem with muscles or ligament.
  • Bone scan. Bone scan can find out bone tumours or fractures caused by osteoporosis.

Most back pain gets better if you take proper rest if it’s not a chronic condition. For severe pain, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers. You need to do light activities as much as you can tolerate.

Medications

Depending on the type of back pain you have, your doctor might recommend the following:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen may help relieve back pain. But using it often can have serious problems leading to death.
  • Muscle relaxants. If back pain doesn’t improve with pain killers you may need a muscle relaxant.
  • Topical pain relievers. Topical pain relievers includes cream and oils.
  • Narcotics. Drugs containing opioids can be used for a short time with close supervision by your doctor.

Other treatment for back pain

1. Massage. Massage relieves neck pain, knee or hip pain, headaches, or other discomfort related to muscles, joints, and connective tissue. It can be effective in back pain since regular massage can reduce stress and boosts the level of serotonin which can reduce pain. Massage also relaxes muscles which can help you in relieving pain. Deep-tissue massage is especially effective in chronic back pain. Check with your doctor before starting massage therapy since having osteoporosis or using blood thinners can worsen the pain.

2. Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been found effective against all types of pain including back pain. It is easily tolerated with a low risk of serious side effects. Traditional acupuncture is found to be helpful in reducing back pain too.

3. Hot and cold treatment. Applying cold therapy to the affected area reduces swelling and relieves pain. Heat treatments are useful in injuries, such as pulled muscles and any pain in the joints. Alternate heat and cold can be effective in pain relief from muscle tears, overuse injuries, and chronic joint pain. So hot and cold treatment can efficiently reduce pain for back pain.

Conclusion

Back pain can be really painful and often a condition which can reduce your quality of life and often lead to miss work. However, knowing the reason for back pain can be very useful in countering the cause and then find ways to reduce pain. Often bad posture and injuries contribute to back pain which is further exacerbated by poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. If you eat healthily and do physical activity that strengthens your core muscles you have less risk of back pain. Adequate rest, massage and pain killers can quickly help you reduce pain but you need to check with a doctor and test for serious chronic conditions.

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