Back pain can affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives. And when it happens, it can interfere with your day-to-day life and take a toll on your overall well-being. Fortunately, if you are suffering from a back pain problem, there are some things you can do to alleviate the pain and get you on your way to feeling better.
- Better Sleep
It can be hard to get comfortable, let alone sleep, when you’re experiencing back pain. This can be frustrating because a good night’s sleep is just what you need to ease strained muscles and inflamed joints. One idea for restful sleep is to lie on your side with a pillow between your knees. This prevents your spine from curving and relieves undo strain on your back. If you’re a back sleeper, place a pillow underneath your knees. Regardless of your position, be sure you’re sleeping on a firm mattress.
- Ice and Heat
Applying an ice pack to the pained area of your back is a good way to reduce swelling and inflammation. Try using an icepack several times a day in 20-minute intervals, then switch to heat after a few days. Using a hot water bottle or heating pad helps relax your muscles reduce cramping, while increasing blood flow to the area. Warm baths are also helpful for relaxation.
- Be Active, Gently
It may seem like bed rest is best for back pain, but lying still for too long can exacerbate pain and possibly lead to other complications. Instead, it’s a good idea to rest for no more than a day or two, then slowly get back to being active with activities like swimming, walking or yoga. In fact, yoga can improve back pain by unwinding tightness in the muscles, increasing body awareness, and improving breathing, the latter of which elicits relaxation and helps to further relieve muscle tension.
- Sit Up Straight
Be mindful of your posture. Slouching or sitting for long periods of time can make back pain worse. Try to remember to sit upright, with your body against the back of the chair and your feet flat on the floor. Some find it helpful to put a pillow or rolled towel between your lower back and the back of your chair.
- Over-the-Counter Medication
Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help with short-term relief of back pain. Always take the recommended dosage, and talk to your doctor if your pain persists while taking over-the-counter medication. Sometimes medication alone will not be able to solve back pain problems; other types of treatment may be needed.
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