According to the Medical Journal of Australia, up to 80 per cent of Australians experience back pain sometime throughout their life, and the figure is no doubt similar for many other countries. Indeed, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide according to a global study done in 2010.
What, then, are the best ways for you to deal with back pain? Here are seven suggestions.
Practise healthy habits
There are simple things you can do to avoid back pain as much as possible. These include: maintaining a healthy diet and weight, remaining active, maintaining proper posture, and quitting smoking. Smoking is a particularly important step, since it impairs blood flow, meaning that your spinal tissues are deprived of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function effectively.
Check your workstation
Where do you spend most of your time working? If you are engaged in physical activity as your primary occupation, for example, as a gardener or laborer, try to warm up and stretch before you start your day’s work. Similarly, if you’re sitting at a desk typing on a computer for eight hours a day, it’s important to make sure your workstation is ergonomically correct.
Check your bed
Physiotherapists recommend sleeping on a mattress of medium firmness. Why, you ask? Lack of support from a mattress, most often soft mattresses, reinforces poor sleeping posture, straining your muscles and curving your spine way from its proper alignment, causing back pain. Especially if you’re using an old mattress that is visibly sagging in the middle, it’s time to get a new one.
Breaks are important
As stated earlier, sitting in the same position for eight hours a day or being constantly on the move will obviously increase your chance of back pain. So remember to take a physical break as well as a mental one when it’s time for your lunch break at work. If you work in the office, consider taking a walk rather than sitting in the food court – it’s not only beneficial for your back, but will make you feel more re-energised too!
Stretching it out
When you’re back at home, you might also consider doing some back exercises to relieve your pain. Exercises can range from the simple, such as ankle pumps and wall squats, to the more advanced, such as hamstring and hit flexor stretches. This might be something you want to consult your doctor about, particularly if you’re looking at the more advanced exercises.
Have a look at your clothes and shoes
What do your clothes and shoes have to do with back pain? One common cause of back pain among females is high heels, which shift your centre of gravity and strain your lower back. If this sounds like you, try to avoid anything higher than one-inch heels. It’s not just females though. Any clothing that is so tight that it interferes with bending, sitting, or walking can intensify your back pain. So if you’re a lover of skinny jeans, you might have to think twice.
Don’t sit on it for too long
If back pain is making you take time off work and rendering you miserable and in great pain, it’s worth going to see a doctor. Most cases of back pain are mechanical, however, there is a small chance that there could be an underlying cause to your pain such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer. Better to be safe than sorry!
[toggle title=”Featured images”]
Isabelle McKenna is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in health and fitness. After all her research on back pain, pursuing a Doctor of Physiotherapy at Macquarie University sounds like not a bad idea!
- When back pain is a sign of serious illness (dailymail.co.uk)
- In pain? Listen to music, says pharmacy (telegraph.co.uk)
- Soothing music can help relieve nagging pain: Pop songs reduce agony for sufferers (dailymail.co.uk)