Ease Your Back Pain by Changing Your Daily Habits
It seems like everyone has a bout of back pain from time to time, and many people suffer from chronic back pain that they treat with analgesics and opioid pain medications. But while medications may relieve your pain, they are ineffective in resolving the underlying cause of pain.
Some common causes of back pain include:
- Lifting too-heavy loads
- Poor lifting technique
- Poor postural habits while standing and sitting
- Long hours of sitting and physical inactivity
- Prolonged and frequent use of electronic devices
- Inefficient movement mechanics while walking and running
- Poor physical condition with weak and/or tight muscles
- Overweight and obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor upper body alignment while texting
Since back pain is a mechanical rather than a metabolic issue, it stands to reason that drugs can do little to resolve it. What’s more, both NSAIDs and opioids have serious harmful effects on your health, and should be taken sparingly or avoided altogether.
6 Changes You Can Make Today to Resolve Chronic Back Pain
- Walk or run daily. The human body was designed to walk and run, and doing so on a daily basis will help to correct a broad range of mechanical issues that contribute to back pain. To improve your performance and reduce your risk of injuries, get a professional gait analysis and retraining. Invest in quality running shoes, professionally fitted to work with your foot shape.
- Do resistance training 2 to 3 times per week. A well-designed resistance training program will balance the muscle tension at your joints, promoting good body alignment and taking stress off your spine. Be sure to include core muscle exercises, and seek professional guidance for proper exercise execution.
- Stretch daily. Stretching your muscles and joints, especially your spine, relieves tension on your nerves and discs and promotes muscle elasticity. Be sure to warm up with light cardio or a hot bath or shower before stretching.
- Reduce time spent sitting. If your job requires you to be at a desk all day, try standing for at least part of the time. Get up and move around at least once per hour, and stretch out the muscles of your chest, hamstrings and hip flexors periodically throughout the day.
- Practice postural awareness. Always sit and stand with your chest lifted and your shoulders pulled back and down. Pay attention to tension in your neck and shoulders, and allow your muscles to relax. Avoid jutting your neck forward when on your phone or computer. When standing, pull your navel in to engage your abdominal muscles, to support your spine. Sitting on a stability ball rather than a chair will automatically coax your spine into good alignment.
- Improve your sleep habits. Stretch before bed to relax your muscles and decompress your spine. Sleep on a firm supportive mattress, preferably on your back or side. Sliding a pillow beneath your knees when lying on your back or between your knees in a side-lying position helps to align your spine and neutralize your pelvis.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Resolve Your Back Pain
Physical therapists are accustomed to working with chronic back pain patients, and know how to get to the source and resolve it. Therapy may include gait and postural retraining, manipulative therapy, exercises and stretches to balance muscle tension, massage and other treatments to relieve pain, and much more.
You do not have to live your life with chronic back pain or rely on drugs to help you cope. At NYDNRehab, we are dedicated to resolving back pain, not just treating the symptoms. Contact NYDNRehab today and let our back pain specialists help you resolve your chronic back pain and improve your quality of life.