Simple Remedies for Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common physical ailments; eight in ten Americans have lower back pain at some point in their lives. There are numerous causes of low back pain, including sports injuries, sprains, and chronic conditions like arthritis. Most cases of back pain do not threaten your health, but see your doctor if you have sudden or severe pain. As you wait for your appointment with Dr. Kevin McElroy, the following tips can help you manage low back pain at home.
Maintain good posture
Keeping good posture when standing, sleeping, or walking eases the pressure on your lower back. Tapes, straps, or stretchy bands can help keep your spine in alignment. Ensure your head is always centered over your pelvis. Also, avoid craning your chin forward or slouching your shoulders.
If you work on your computer, keep your eyes level with the top of the screen and rest your arms evenly on the table or desk. It is also important to take small breaks after every 30 minutes; get off your chair and stretch and walk regularly.
When in pain, the last thing you may want to do is engage in physical activities. However, this is the first thing your healthcare provider may recommend. If you have back pain, don’t fall for the common misconception that you can’t stay active. Try to maintain your usual daily activity level and movement. It can be going to the park with your dog or a brisk 30-minute walk. The aim should be to get on your feet at least three times weekly. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, the muscles around your spine become weak. Consequently, they don’t support the spine as they should, leading to chronic pain.
Stretch and strengthen your core
The abdominal core muscles are important in supporting your back and are better off when strong. When these muscles are strong and flexible, your risk of low back pain decreases. Specialists recommend stretching first thing in the morning. But if you are older or worried about overdoing it, wait until your body is warmed up later during the day before you can stretch and do strengthening exercises. Examples of activities that can help strengthen your core and muscles around your hips include Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. You can also try lying on your tummy and lifting your legs and arms in the flying position; this exercise targets your entire upper and lower back.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight places extra weight on your back and puts you at risk of low back pain. But shedding excess weight lightens the load on your lower back and can help alleviate the pain. Weight loss helps with pain since it reduces the amount of mechanical force on the spine. Weight loss does not occur overnight; your doctor will advise you on a diet and exercise plan that may work best for you.
If your pain is severe or doesn’t improve with home remedies, visit your doctor at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine for medical treatment to improve your quality of life.