Back At It

Tips for reducing pain in the neck, rear, and in between

Back Pain

Back pain can be anything from annoying to debilitating. All of us will eventually experience it, but whether it lingers, dissipates, or returns is often up to what we do about it. We’ve put together a list of helpful tips to try when back pain strikes. As always, if pain persists or worsens, contact your medical provider right away. Hopefully these recommendations will keep back pain at bay for years to come.

Stretch. Relieve back pain and potentially prevent it with stretches designed to help your back. Bending gently forward first thing in the morning—either while sitting on the edge of the bed or standing—can help melt away pain and stretch your muscles for the day. Also try lying on the floor and gently pulling each knee up to your chest while the other leg is extended. 

Hot and Cold. Alternate 20 minutes of heat with 20 minutes of cold on your hurting back. Heating pads and medicated patches work great for heat sources, and ice packs or cold packs are good for cold. Just be sure to have a cloth or clothing between you and the hot or cold so that your skin is protected.

Massage. Massages can help ease back pain by soothing sore muscles and releasing tension. Over time, regular massages can completely release “trigger points” which can hold pain.

Hot Baths. The benefits of heat plus the near weightlessness of your body in water is a godsend for back pain. Epsom salts can enhance the experience.

Value Your Core. Back pain is often caused by a weak middle section. When you strengthen your core—building abdominal muscles—you are taking the pressure off your back, literally. Often, the trick to getting rid of nagging back pain is to leave your back out of it and work on your core instead.

Stand Up Straight. Not only do you look better, your back will feel better. Good posture ensures that your body is properly aligned from your head to your toes so that no undue stress or pressure will impact your body. 

Think about Your Shoes. Sometimes, the journey to a better back begins with a single step—in the right shoes. Consider the last time you bought new, good fitting athletic shoes and if you can’t remember, or don’t own a pair of comfortable, good fitting shoes, it might be time to invest in new ones. 

Back pain is like a leaky roof: we never think about a leaky roof until it rains, and we never think about back pain until it strikes. Be ready the next time you get those familiar twinges and strains, and possibly prevent them in the future with a little planning ahead.