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Lifestyle Changes to Ease Back Pain

Back pain is very common these days. It is quite prevalent among older people, but people in their mid-twenties and early thirties also often complain about the problem. Given the current lifestyle and hectic work hours, back pain leads to severe health issues. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the issue and recover as soon as possible.

Back problems occur because of incorrect sitting posture in most cases. In most cases, you can most probably get rid of it easily. All you need to do is bring some changes to your lifestyle.

What Are the Symptoms of Back Pain?

There can be numerious causes for back pain. Some include poor lifestyle habits, and others include muscle strains, sports injuries, accidents, etc. The reasons for back pain may differ, but the symptoms are common to all.

Some of the common back pain symptoms are:

  • Continuous stiffness along the spine. The most affected areas are the base of the neck and the tailbone.
  • Intense pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back, especially after heavy lifting or involvement in strenuous activity. However, if you feel pain in the upper back, it could needs to be investigated for more serious underlying causes . Immediate action needs to be taken in such situations.
  • Chronic pain in the lower back after sitting or standing for long
  • Back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttock and thighs
  • The incapability of standing straight without having muscle spasms in the lower back

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

The most common causes of back pain include stress, bad posture, aging, and so on. Some of the more serious problems include:

  • Ruptured discs. A ruptured disc occurs when the center of the disc ruptures out. This causes irritation, inflammation, and swelling in the nerves.
  • Sciatica. This refers to the pain due to irritation of the sciatic nerve that travels from the lower back through the back of hips and into the legs
  • Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect your lower back. In certain cases, arthritis in the spine can cause narrowing of the space around your spinal cord, a condition known as spinal stenosis
  • Skeletal irregularities. It is one of the causes of back pain. In this condition, the spine curves to the side.
  • Osteoporosis. Causes fracture of the vertebrae. In this condition, bones become porous and brittle..
  • Muscle or ligament strain. A sudden awkward movement or repeated heavy lifting can strain spinal ligaments and back muscles. If you are physically weak (poor physical condition), constant strain on the back can lead to painful muscle spasms.

The causes mentioned above should be taken seriously. Minor improvement in your day-to-day activities also plays a crucial role in relieving the pain and symptoms.

What Are Some Lifestyle Factors That Contribute to Back Pain?

Some of the most common lifestyle habits and activities that can lead to back pain are:

  • Driving. Driving for long periods results in a sore lower back. Commuting for long hours while travelling to work is one of the major causes of back pain. Hence, it is important to maintain the right posture while driving.
  • Wrong sleeping positions. Wrong positioning of the spine while sleeping causes back pain over time. This is commonly seen in stomach sleepers.
  • Sports. Playing sports like golf and tennis causes a significant strain on the lower back. For example, Golfers usually coil their bodies, which creates tension on the sides.
  • Smoking. Research studies have also established a strong link between smoking and lower back pain.
  • Taking the stairs. Taking stairs frequently exerts stress on the back and knees.
  • Sitting all day long. Sitting at your desk for long hours without a break can cause both back and neck pain.
  • Lifting grocery bags or other heavy objects. Heavy lifting can also result in back issues. If you do not carry your heavy purse, grocery bag, or even a backpack the right way, it has good chances of resulting in back pain.

How Can the Cause of Back Pain be Diagnosed?

Besides performing a thorough examination of your back, doctors may suggest an X-ray (to view the spine ), CT/ MRI scan (locates the problematic areas), and other tests for diagnostic purposes.

What Can You Do to Eliminate Back Pain?

Taking measures and bringing about mindful changes in your lifestyle can have an immediate impact on back pain. Below are a few simple lifestyle changes that you can adopt to improve your back condition and curb the pain.

Posture

The way you hold your body is important for maintaining the right posture. Avoid slouching and focus on keeping a good posture while sitting or standing. Do not curve your body unnecessarily. Follow these tips to improve posture:

  • Make sure your workspaces are at a convenient height.
  • Adjust the seat in a way so that it is comfortable while working.
  • Sit upright and straight.
  • Move around and stretch your muscles regularly.
  • Place a pillow behind the lower back while sitting to improve support.

Also read- three postures that determine your future joint health

Stretching

The lower back needs to be nurtured and stretched the most.  Try some neck and shoulder stretches every few hours to avoid stiffening up. They are great for relieving tension.

To relieve pain and pressure, you may try Neck Flexion Stretch. The stretching is aimed at increasing the flexion range of motion of the neck. It also aids in supporting the back.

Gently push your chin to the chest.  Repeat it several times a day to see optimum results.

Neck retraction reduces spinal pressure. Place your fingers on your chin and push it far backwards. Do 3-4 sessions throughout the day.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise provides strength to your back. Doing it consistently enables weight loss. You can also manage your stress level by exercising regularly. Make sure your routine exercises include stretching, balancing, and strengthening your back muscles.

Skip unhealthy habits

Unhealthy habits might not seem like they affect your back, but that is not the case. As mentioned above, smoking increases back pain. The same goes for drinking alcohol. Smoking reduces blood flow to your bones and soft tissues, which causes severe back pain. Drinking alcohol in excess raises the levels of inflammation, which also increases pain. Curbing, or in the least moderating, these habits will go a long way in preventing many ailments, including back pain. 

Take care of your weight

Staying fit is an important aspect of reducing back pain. Excess weight causes stress on the spine muscles. For this reason, practicing a healthy diet along with exercises can help in reducing stress on your back in the long run.

Massage

Deep massage therapy relaxes muscles, promotes circulation, and releases endorphins. Getting a massage at regular periods can help speed up your recovery from chronic back pain.

Do not stress

When you are under stress, your muscles may tighten and contract. Relax, take a deep breath, and try chanting to stay away from stress.

Do not fall on your desk while at work

Sit upright in your office chair. Try and use the right posture while sitting and standing. Good posture keeps your back well supported, which is crucial to maintaining back health if you regularly sit for long hours.

Choose a chair with firm support for your lower back. Adopting a correct posture keeps your back pain-free.

Proper sleeping methods

Sleep for at least 6-7 hours daily to maintain good back health. Getting good sleep in a comfortable position reduces back pain and stiffness. Please make use of an orthopaedic mattress, as it provides much-needed support to the back.

Drive comfortably

While driving, carry a support pillow. Use lightweight bags for travel, so you do not have to strain your back while carrying them . Take breaks in between if you are travelling to a faraway destination. And do not forget to stretch now and then.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Those mentioned above are some important yet simple lifestyle changes that you can consider. Try these routine changes and see which one works best for you. However, you must consult your doctor before the condition worsens.  You should visit your doctor in any of the following cases:

  • If pain occurs frequently.
  • If pain persists for over six weeks.
  • If back pain radiates to other parts of the body like arms or legs.
  • If back pain interferes with daily activities like walking, sitting, and bending.

Bringing lifestyle changes helps reduce the level of pain. But, if you are experiencing acute pain, lifestyle changes may not bring expected results.

Make an appointment soon. Depending on your needs, the doctor will suggest a quick test to identify the cause.

Request an appointment at Apollo Hospitals.

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

Are There Medicines Available to Treat Back Pain?

Medication can also help ease back pain, but it’s important to take it with extra caution. Talk to your doctor about the dosage.

Alternative Remedies

Several alternative treatments also help ease the symptoms. However, before starting a new therapy, you must discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

  • Chiropractic care.

Chiropractors successfully reduce pain. They focus on spinal manipulation to ease your pain.

  • Acupuncture.

A practitioner inserts sterilized needles at specific pain points. This therapy is very helpful to reduce the symptoms related to back pain.

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

In this therapy, your doctor uses a battery-powered device on the skin. The device provides electrical impulses to reduce pain.

Conclusion

Almost everyone goes through back pain at some point in time. Back problems severely affect the way you live and manage your routine activities. Taking guidance from your therapist brings much-needed awareness and insight for your specific back condition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How is chronic pain different from acute back pain?

Acute back pain occurs as a result of injuries in the past, like an accident. Chronic pain is associated with underlying causes like arthritis or any other disease.

  1. Whom should I see for back pain?

You can consult a general physician or Orthopaedician. Besides, a family physician is more than qualified to assess your condition since he/she is well-versed in your medical history. So, they are definitely in a better place to refer you to the concerned specialist.

  1. Are there any medications available for back pain?

Doctors generally prescribe pain relievers. However, it is recommended not to consume medicines without prior consultation.

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