Back problems are responsible for literally millions of lost working days throughout the World. What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of back pain?
Hot and Cold. Oddly enough, both hot and cold treatments are effective for back pain. Which one to use depends on the type and the cause of the pain.
Cold packs are useful for reducing infection and are good for relieving back pain in the first two days or so after minor back pain begins. Use an ice pack on the affected area for twenty minutes or so, leaving about 40 minutes between sessions.
Heat treatment is particularly useful for muscular pains in back, shoulder and neck areas. Apply a heat wrap – the wheat-filled ones that can be microwaved are good – or a covered hot water bottle to the area to bring relief. Heat increases blood flow to the affected area, which in turnivers extra nutrients and oxygen to the injury, speeding recovery.
Become a careful gardener. Due to the bending involved, gardening can often trigger back pain – a reason why many people are wary of doing any garden activity. However, if long sessions are avoided and work done on a 'little and often' basis, different sets of muscles are exercised without training any one group. Changing tasks regularly also helps spread the load.
Swimming and other water activities such as aqua-aerobics are also good for helping back muscles. The water nullifies some of the effects of gravity, reducing spinal compression and loading. Again, the secret is to build up to greater levels of activity, letting your body become accustomed to the exercise while strengthening vital muscle groups.
Take care when reaching and bending. Sudden, unexpected movements are one of the most common causes of back injury – even sudden bending to tie a shoe lace can cause back trouble (take it from one who knows!) As muscle groups become 'confused' and act against each other. The results can be excruciating and immediate, so take extra care! Surprisingly, this type of injury can be easily maintained by young people as by seniors.
Consider supplements and alternative remedies. Glucosamine Sulphate is accepted as being an aid to the rebuilding of cartilage and this includes the tissue supporting spinal discs. Magnetic wristbands are also known to give relief to back pain as well as pain from sprains and bruising.
One for the ladies – do not wear high heels for long periods. They may make your legs look great but they also tip your pelvis and accentuate your natural spinal curve, which can lead to back and knee problems. Okay for a night out but try to wear lower shoes at other times.
One for the men – find a new home for that bulging wallet other than your hip! Sitting on a fat square of leather stuffed with cards and cash may be good for your credibility put it can play havoc with your sciatic nerve – and sciatica is no joking matter.
Whilst mild back pain caused by muscular strain is usually temporary and easily controlled, other back problems such as slipped discs can be debilitating and chronic, affecting the sufferer to such a degree that mobility is badly impaired. In these situations a mobility aid may well be useful, and a visit to your physician or osteopath is vital.