A back pain is never an enjoyable experience for anyone, regardless of age or level of athleticism. Whether you injured your back by picking something up that was too heavy or from a devastating blow during a sporting event such as football, there are certain things you should try in order to recover properly. Let's cover some ways to get back pain relief and a few things you shouldn't do.
- Switch up Your Diet: Trying to expedite the healing process for your lower back pain? Changing your diet will help with that a great deal. In order to help your body focus directly on the acute injury (in this instance, your lower back pain) and not spend as much time and energy on other parts of the body, you will need to reduce the width of the inflammation system. Cut out foods and beverages such as whole grains, refined carbohydrates (particularly pastries and white bread), sodas and other sugary drinks, and greasy, fast food. Make sure that you are getting a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as this is one of the best anti-inflammatory options out there.
- Consider a Few Cupping Sessions: You may have recently heard of this form of therapy that utilizes cups in order to relieve pain as well and offer a myriad of other health benefits. Though we know high-profile figures such as Michael Phelps and Jennifer Aniston have been a part of bringing it into the limelight, cupping is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice that has been used for thousands of years. While massage is used to apply pressure to the aggravated muscles in the back and other parts of the body, cupping is used to pull out the pressure. Plastic jars, glass jars, or bamboo is placed on the back to suck out pain, remove toxins, and enhance circulation. Many people who experience chronic lower back pain are turning to this form of therapy and seeing results. Cupping can be paired with an acupuncture session or performed on its own.
- Keep Your Ice Pack Handy: Sure, cold isn't comfortable, but ice provides anti-inflammatory benefits that will alleviate a considerable amount of swelling and pain in the injured part of your body. Whether you are suffering from a lower back injury that just occurred or you have been struggling with chronic lower back pain for a while now, icing the area as often as needed for twenty minutes at a time will make your life a little easier (and a lot less painful).
- Pay Attention to How You Sleep at Night: If you are a restless sleeper who twists and turns throughout the night, it won't be doing your back pain any favors. Take note of the way you sleep at night and make an attempt to sleep on your back or your side rather than in a contorted position. Often, people who have trouble sleeping at night or who struggle with insomnia will sleep in positions that put stress on the body and this will lead to even more back problems. To prevent back pain, sleep on your back at night and limit how much you move. If you are already dealing with back pain, sleep on your side with a pillow in between your legs. You may also want to consider getting a new mattress that is comfortable, yet firm or a foam topper if you have been sleeping on a poor-quality mattress.
- Perfect Your Posture: Many people who have developed the bad habit of sitting with slouched shoulders and standing poorly will suffer from some form of back pain. After an injury (or just to help prevent one), become more conscious of the way you sit and stand. While at work, try getting up from your desk as frequently as you can in order to stretch out your back and work on your standing posture. Don't hunch over your computer screen and try using a small pillow to place behind your back so that sitting correctly will be easier and more comfortable.
- See a Physical Therapist: While not all cases of back pain or injury will require physical rehabilitation, it might be beneficial in some and absolutely necessary in other cases. After the injury has a occurred and you have had a sufficient amount of time to rest and heal, talk to your doctor about whether or not physical therapy will be needed. Work with a licensed therapist who will supply you with all of the right exercises to do in order to strengthen your back and prevent future injuries from occurring. With time, you will be able to regain strength and flexibility and these factors will allow for a substantial decrease in your back pain.
- Don't Rest Your Back Too Long: While in the past, it was widely thought that a significant amount of rest was good for back pain, that isn't necessarily the case. So long as the injury or amount of pain is not so severe that it leads to surgery or the need for a brace, you should not be lying on your back for extended periods of time. You should strive to keep the amount of time that you are lying on your back to a minimum. Being on your injured back for too long can actually worsen your pain and cause further aggravation and long-term problems. Pair minimal rest with gentle stretches and rehabilitation exercises for a stronger recovery.
- Don't Perform Certain Exercises: While light exercise is good for regaining back strength and decreasing the pain, there are certain exercises that you should avoid (at least until your back is healed). Stay away from exercises like leg-raises as these put an enormous amount of stress on the spine. Also, avoid running or jogging for a while since the constant pounding will cause greater soreness in your lower back. Lastly, don't jump into any high-intensity aerobic classes or go for a sixty-minute session on the treadmill right away either as these activities cause more strain on your back. Instead of these particular exercises, try swimming, yoga, or using a stair climber rather in place of a treadmill.
- Don't Stretch The Wrong Way: Stretching is an important activity to do in general, whether or not you are suffering from back pain. However, when you are recovering from a back injury, it is especially important that you do stretches in the correct form and avoid doing ones that put even more stress on your lower back. The best thing that you could do is work with a physical therapist for a few sessions or take up yoga so that you can stretch your back without causing more damage to it.
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