There is a lot you can do to lessen your back pain and prevent it from happening. Here are some healths tips for back care:
Stretch regularly. Improving flexibility can help to enhance the health of muscles and joints, increase the distribution of nutrients through blood circulation, and reduce the stiffness of the spine. It is beneficial to elongate the tight muscles after a day’s work and before you begin any kind of exercise. When you start, perform the stretches slowly and advance only if you feel comfortable without pain. Gradually, you will be able to add more stretches to your routine. Make sure you do the stretching properly so that you don’t cause injury to the muscles. “Bouncing” to stretch tight muscles can cause tiny tears in them that make them sore and tighter. Stretching piriformis, hamstrings and hip flexor muscles are particularly helpful for people with low back pain and stiffness. Consult your Physiotherapist to make sure you are doing the ones that are correct for you and that you are doing them safely.
Improve your posture. Poor posture increases the strain on the muscles, ligaments and joints leading to back and neck pains. In this digital age, many of us sit hunched over a desk or looking down at our mobile devices for many hours a day, putting considerable strain on our body. Try your best to stand and sit up straight and avoid slouching. Keep your chest and shoulders open. You can also place a small towel roll or appropriate back support at your low back when you sit, in order to support and maintain the natural curve of the spine.
Good Ergonomic Set Up at Work Station.If you work on a computer all day, you can minimise the aggravation to your low back by having a good ergonomics set up as follows:
Monitor. Position your monitor so that it is at eye level. When using mobile devices, hold them up rather than looking down.
Chair. Use a chair that is properly fit for you and your work station. Sitting with hips higher than the knees, with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
Standing desk. If you are using a standing desk, installing a simple footrest can prevent back pain resulting from prolonged standing. This will allow one leg to bend at the hip and knee and will reduce the strain on your low back. You can change feet as frequently as you like. Try different heights and see what is the most comfortable for you.
Use Safe Lifting Techniques. When lifting and carrying a heavy object, get close to the object, keep a wide base of support, bend your knees and hips, tighten up your stomach muscles. Use your leg muscles to support your body as you stand up. Avoid twisting or bending sideways when lifting. Get help if the object is too heavy or the size or shape is too awkward.
Try Self-Acupressure Points. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, and both work to stimulate the nervous system and enhance blood flow to tight muscles. You can try to perform basic acupressure on yourself to help relieve back pain, stress and fatigue. Simply sit in a comfortable position, then firmly press on the acupoints point in a circular or up-and-down motion for about 3 minutes at a time. Repeat the motion as often as you like.
To relieve back pain, you can try the following acupressure points:
Lower Back Acupressure Points. Located between the second and third vertebrae from the bottom of your spine. Applying pressure to this point offers effective pain relief from lower back pain as well as sciatica.
Hip Bone Acupressure Points. Located approximately two finger widths from the large bony area at the bottom of your spine, midway between the top of your hip bone and the base of your buttocks. Applying gentle pressure to these points on each side of your hip will help to relieve you of both hip pain and lower back pain, as well as sciatica and pelvic stress.
Back of Knee Acupressure Points. Located at the centre of the back of your knees, directly behind the knee caps. These points help to reduce stiffness in the back and sciatica, as well as knee and hip pain.
Build up your Physical Fitness. Strengthening your core muscles through exercise is important in reducing the risk of back injuries and chronic back pain. Well conditioned muscles have the strength, flexibility or endurance that is needed to work properly, and allow you to work more, play harder, and maintain your energy level longer. Get on a general fitness program or recreational activity that is appropriate for you. Your Physiotherapist can guide you with this.
Eat anti-inflammatory food. Try to avoid or limit foods that promote inflammation in the body as much as possible, such as refined carbohydrates, deep fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages etc. Eat varied colours of fruits and vegetables as they may help to bring down inflammation, such as berries and leafy greens. They are also high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols, which offer protection to our cardiovascular, nervous and muscular systems. You can also try consuming more turmeric, a spice that contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Manage or Reduce Stress. Improving your mental wellbeing helps to relax your muscles and nervous system. Practising mindfulness or meditation techniques are effective ways to reduce tension, release feel-good hormones (endorphins), and decrease anxiety and stress, and therefore, reduce back pain. Taking time to yourself is important in your general well-being, you can try walking in nature, listening to music or engaging in your favourite physical or art activities.
Get Adequate Rest. A restful sleep is essential for cellular repair and mental restoration, it is especially important at the time when you have an ailment that your body needs to fight against. Aim to get enough hours of sleep each night and keep a good sleep hygiene to feel the benefit of rest. You may need extra pillows to align the spine in the proper position while sleeping, such as putting a pillow between the knees if you are a side sleeper. Head pillows should support the curve of the neck comfortably.
Seek Treatment. If you suffer from chronic back pain or have been experiencing back pain for more than a few days, receiving treatment will help reduce the pain and speed up the recovery process. Holistic physiotherapists treat the whole person, not just the area of the body where symptoms are felt. We believe that the body is interconnected, and the body functions best when it is in proper alignment. A holistic physiotherapist will work with you to identify the source of pain, treat it with a variety of techniques and prevent the recurrence of the pain.
For optimal healing, it is best to begin treatment immediately following an accident or injury.