It’s estimated that nearly 80% of people experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Whether it’s because of injury, or age, or surgery, anyone who’s had back pain knows all the symptoms: you can’t move right, your back hurts, the slightest movements can send shock waves down your spine, and generally speaking, you don’t have much interest in doing the things you like to do.
When it comes to having severe back pain, it’s estimated that about 90% of people end up throwing out their back. You’ve likely heard people talk about throwing out their back many times, but if you don’t know what it means, throwing out your back simply means that the muscles in your back have been strained for one reason or another, whether that’s from overworking, strain from lifting objects, overstretching, or having bad posture.
If you have thrown your back out, then you know it’s usually accompanied by excruciating pain, muscle spasms, and back stiffness. It can be very debilitating, but there are many things you can do to heal your back and get back to normal:
If you throw your back out, one of the best things you can do is to rest. Not only will this help you feel refreshed, but your muscles will have time to recover. If you really want to support your back, use pillows to reduce muscle strain. Believe it or not, you can help heal your back by laying flat on your back on a hard surface.
Treat Your Back Pain
Anyone who’s familiar with having severe back pain knows it can be very hard to get any rest when you’re in excruciating pain. One thing you’ll definitely want to do is treat the pain so that you’re able to get adequate rest. You can use ice packs on painful areas for up to 20 minutes and you can balance those with taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Advil for pain management. You can also apply heat to your back and alternate heat and ice for periods of 20 minutes at a time.
See A Doctor
Typically, back pain shouldn’t last for more than 10 to 14 days. If and when it does, you should see a doctor, especially if over-the-counter medications aren’t really helping. If you find yourself struggling to move, or get rest, or are even feeling numb, you should see a doctor for testing to make sure that you don’t have a bigger problem going on. Rehabilitation services make up almost a third of all health care expenditures in the United States and if your insurance will cover rehabilitation, you need to see a doctor for relief.
When you’ve thrown out your back, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is exercising. But doing a little bit of exercise can keep your muscles working. If you don’t move it all, it’s very easy for your muscles to stiffen up.
After you’ve gotten the chance to rest for a couple of days, try getting back into your normal routine. If you’re hesitant about moving much, take baby steps. You can try doing some gentle stretching for short periods of time, and you might even go for strolls around your house.
Massage And Chiropractic Medicine
One good tip for dealing with back pain is to visit a local chiropractor or visit a massage therapist. A chiropractor can make small adjustments in your spine that can ease the pain, and may even correct your posture if having severe back pain is something you deal with on a persistent basis. A massage therapist can alleviate the tension in your muscles by giving you a massage to help your muscles relax.
As you can see, there are many things you can do in the immediate aftermath of having thrown out your back. In fact, you’ll have to do many of these things to regain your range of movement and return to a normal routine. But dealing with back pain isn’t always a short-term deal, there are actually many things you can do to help your back over a longer period of time to help prevent back pain, or at least make symptoms of back pain much less severe:
Increase Your Vitamin Intake
A good way to help your back is to increase your bone strength. It’s well known that strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis, which is one of the most common causes of back pain. You can easily keep your back strong by upping your intake of vitamin D and calcium. You can find calcium in many dairy products and you can find vitamin D in foods like cheese, egg yolks, and certain kinds of fish. Of course, you can also visit a pharmacy to get supplements of both vitamin D and calcium.
Change Up Your Footwear
You may not realize it, but one of the biggest reasons you might be having severe back pain is that you’re wearing the wrong kind of shoes. Even if your everyday footwear is stylish by your standards, there’s a chance it could be hurting your back.
To prevent this, get yourself some low-heeled, comfortable shoes. These will help reduce the strain on your back while you stand. You can also see a specialist about custom footwear, particularly if you have flat feet or another medical condition that might require special footwear.
Straighten Your Back
It may seem obvious to sit up and stand up straight every day, but the fact is that many people don’t have good posture. Having good posture can help protect the intricate pieces of your spine, helping them to function properly. When you have bad posture, you’re putting strain and stress on your back, and you can even change the overall architecture of your spine. You absolutely want to avoid slouching or even bending sideways while you’re standing.
Think Twice About Smoking
It’s been established for many years that there are various health risks associated with smoking cigarettes. But what you may not know is that smokers are more likely to experience back pain than non-smokers are.
Believe it or not, nicotine restricts blood flow to the discs in your back. When blood flow is restricted, your discs can rupture, crack, or even dry out. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, which in turn can cause a lack of nourishment to muscles and tendons in your body, especially in your back. When you have an unhealthy back, you’re more susceptible to unintentional strains and pulls that cause severe back pain.
Lighten Your Loads
Having severe back pain often comes from improper lifting or heavy lifting. It’s advised that for heavy lifting that you lift with your knees and not your back, but many people still lift with their back. But lifting improperly can cause pain and strain and send you to the doctor for medical care. To alleviate this, try taking smaller loads if you need to carry anything. If you have things that are simply too heavy to carry, find a cart with wheels to move your items from Point A to Point B.
Having severe back pain can inhibit your ability to move. As such, a great everyday tip for keeping back pain at bay is to move around. If you’re at an office party, you can take time to move around the room and mingle with co-workers. If you need to take a short break from your work, try taking a short walk around the office, or even around the block. This will keep you from sitting too long or worse, sitting awkwardly.
Get A Good Office Chair
Much like improper footwear can cause severe back pain, so too can the wrong kind of office chair. With the wrong kind of chair at your desk, it can be very easy to slouch while you’re working. If you’ve noticed you’ve been having severe back pain after sitting for long periods of time, perhaps even daily, it’s time to get a new chair.
You should look into getting an ergonomic chair that will help align your spine and support your thighs and back. If that isn’t an immediate option, try rolling up a small towel and putting it in the small of your back when you sit down for more support. Likewise, you can get a seat cushion to make yourself more comfortable.
In addition to moving around periodically during the day, try using a standup desk for at least an hour each day. This will take the pressure off your back by sitting in your chair and will give you some time to stretch your muscles as you work.
Support Your Back While Sleeping
One of the most common causes of back pain comes from sleeping improperly. Sleeping on your back, for example, can put pressure on your spine. To avoid having severe back pain, try elevating your legs by putting a pillow under your knees. This will relieve the pressure on your back and help you sleep better.
Update Your Home
Having severe back pain is never a fun thing to deal with, but if you’re elderly and require in home care, there are many steps you can take to make it easier to move around your home while avoiding back pain.
If you require a wheelchair or a walker to move around, you can have custom home improvement services in your area come and install a ramp outside your home. This way, if you have to leave your house, you won’t have to put strain on your back walking into or leaving the house.
Simple home building modifications are one option you have, but you can also consider a home remodel to avoid having back pain inside your home. One option you have is to get yourself a lift chair. With a lift chair, you won’t have to strain your back sitting down or standing up because a lift chair has a button that can raise or lower you.
You can also use shelving to put important items up higher and much easier to reach. Having to constantly bend down to pick up items in lower cabinets or off the flower can cause strain, which can add up over time. Again, if you live on your own, this is a relatively simple way to make things easier on yourself and save yourself from having severe back pain after doing the simplest of tasks at home.
Work Your Core Frequently
One of the best things you can do to protect and strengthen your back is to work your core muscles, daily if possible. If you’re a first responder, for example, who’s an expert in bandaging wounds and using commercial cell boosters to respond to emergencies, you’re likely on the go quite a bit. As such, you can strengthen your core by doing a variety of exercises. As you walk in the course of daily work helping people, you’ll strengthen your back by stretching your muscles and increasing blood flow to your spine.
Another way for anyone to strengthen their back is to try water therapy. Since water is so buoyant, you have a greater range of motion. This makes it ideal if you’re rehabbing a lower-body injury or your back. If you deal with chronic back pain and find it hard to exercise, water therapy is one of the best ways to exercise. Apply some waterproof bandages beforehand, and then get to work on your core.
If you deal with chronic pain in your back and your range of motion is affected, it may be a good idea to seek the aid of a physical therapist. They can help manage your pain and give you an exercise plan that’s workable. That may include going for a short walk or walking up and down some stairs at home.
Cheer Someone Up
If you know someone who’s been having severe back pain, they’re likely feeling uncomfortable and could use a pick-me-up. If you’re looking to cheer someone up who’s on the mend, look no further than your local florist. A local flower shop has tons of variety for you to pick the perfect arrangement for you to send as a gift. It may not get rid of a friend or loved one’s back pain, but it will certainly brighten their spirits as they rest and heal up.