BACK PAIN. Spare 5 minutes to find out how to cope with back pain

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1 BACK PAIN Spare 5 minutes to find out how to cope with back pain

2 You always managed your responsibilities as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, daughter in law, friend, boss, and colleague indeed managed well and managed with pride Of late, you are finding it tough with your back troubling you very often Backache seems to be universal Every other friend has some advice to offer So many advertisements in the television and magazine articles are talking about numerous remedies for backache Have you tried these remedies with little relief? Are you wondering what is going on? Just spare 5 minutes to find out how to cope with this common problem Do you groan Ouch how my back aches! Do you find it difficult to bend down to pickup a piece of paper from the floor? Have you missed work due to backache? Remember that you are not the only one experiencing this agony. Back pain is one of the commonest problems in everyday life. It is so common that most of us suffer from it at some point in our life. Your back is made up of muscles, bones (vertebrae), shock absorbing disks, and nerves. You get back pain, when there is a problem with anyone of these. You may have a dull and constant pain or even a sharp pain that starts suddenly. Very often, it disappears on its own after sometime. Simple painkillers and a little rest is all that you need to relieve the pain. Getting back to your normal daily activities as soon as possible is the best method for coping with back pain. All you need to know about back pain It is disturbing to note that back pain ranks high among self inflicted problems. You will be surprised to know that your back trouble could be the result of all the bad habits that you have acquired through your lifetime. A few common culprits are bad posture, overexerting during work or play, sitting incorrectly at the desk or while driving, and being careless while pulling, pushing and lifting weights. At times, you will feel the pain almost immediately however, the onset of pain can also be delayed. The pain can start in any part of your back, the commonest being the lower back. This part of your back bears the brunt of the pressure, while you sit or lift weights. Hence, this part is more prone for damage. Base of your neck is the second most commonly affected part. Occasionally, you may develop backache without an apparent cause. Weak back muscles, which are unable to bear the pressures of everyday activities like walking, stretching, and bending, could be the cause. For all you know, your backache can be due to stress, other emotional problems, or even lack of sleep. Are you pregnant? Here s one more reason for your backache. The hormonal changes and the weight gain during this

3 period seem to be the main offender here. Injuries resulting from contact sports, falls or accidents, infection, or even cancer also can cause backache. At times, slipped disk or arthritis can result in persistent backache. However, even after the initial problem is solved, the pain may persist. Managing back pain It is encouraging to know that back pain is often relieved by a few weeks of home treatment and a little care. Most of the time, all you need is a course of painkillers and some rest. A short period of bed rest is quite adequate. Extending the period of rest for more than a couple of days will do more harm than good. You should resume your normal activities as soon as possible. If all these treatments fail, you may need stronger medications or other forms of therapy. Physical therapies, such as application of heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and various muscle release techniques can also be effective in reducing the pain. Once the pain improves, your therapist will teach you certain specific exercises that will help to increase the flexibility, strength of your back and abdominal muscles, and to improve your posture. Regular exercise will help to prevent the recurrence of the problem. Surgery is rarely needed, and it is the last option. It is recommended, only if your pain is unrelenting or is due to herniated disk or you have progressive muscle weakness due to compression of the nerves. Coping with back pain Now, let s look at the brighter side of things Yes, back pain can be prevented. Some simple treatments and adopting correct body mechanics will definitely help to heal your back within a matter of few weeks. Being careful while doing your daily activities will definitely help to prevent the backache. Exercise Whatever may be your age, try to be physically active and exercise regularly. Select an activity, which does not strain your back, but at the same time increases its strength and endurance. Why don t you start walking or swimming? Both are excellent choices Your doctor will be able to advise you regarding this. Building muscle strength and flexibility Activities that help to exercise and condition the muscles of your abdomen and back, will help to reduce the strain on your back. Increasing the flexibility of your hips and upper legs will help to improve your back pain.

4 Smoking Smoking reduces the oxygen content in your spinal tissues, and this delays the healing process. Smoking by itself is injurious to your health. So, quit smoking and reap the benefits. Sit smart Always select a chair with a straight back and good low back support for sitting. While sitting, keep your knees and hips at the same level. If necessary you can keep a small pillow in the small of your back to maintain the normal curvature. Move your whole body while turning and avoid twisting at your waist. When you are driving, be careful to sit straight and if needed move the seat forward to reach the controls comfortably. Lifting weights the object close to your body, and get up without twisting your body. Body weight Maintaining an ideal body weight is essential for relieving back pain, as overweight can put extra strain on your back. If you are overweight try to reduce your weight. You can choose dieting, exercising, or both, but be sure to make an effort. Stand smart If you have to stand for long duration, try resting your foot on a low stool. This helps to relieve the pressure off your lower back. Switch your resting foot every 5 to 15 minutes. Take care to maintain a good posture by keeping your ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line with your head held straight and your stomach pulled in. Mind you! It is worth making the effort. Avoid bending over while lifting weight. It is always better to bend at your knees or squat to pick up any heavy object. It really helps, if you keep your back straight, hold

5 Moving objects If you have to move any heavy object, always remember to push rather than pull the object. This helps to reduce the strain on your back. Footwear Diet Always maintain a healthy and nutritious diet. Include lots of grains, fruits, and vegetables. So now kick off your shoes, put your legs up, and relax. These small measures will definitely take care of your back. Avoid wearing high heeled slippers or shoes Wear flat and comfortable ones.

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