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How to Manage Back Pain

How to Manage Back Pain

Low back pain is very common; almost everyone can expect to experience it at some point in their lives. If you have ever struggled with back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Perhaps you suffer from arthritis or you lifted something the wrong way. Caregivers in particular do lots of physical activity that can cause strain on the back. Regardless, low back pain is something that can reoccur and continue over a long period of time.

Of course, it can occur as a symptom to something serious, like an injury. In those cases, seek medical attention immediately! For mild back pain, here are some home remedies and treatments, as well as suggestions for prevention.

Back Pain Remedies: How to fix and manage

Physical Therapy & Exercise:

One of the best things you can do for back pain is to keep moving. A physical therapist can help you with this by giving you specific exercises for your condition. Otherwise, staying regular with physical activity does wonders for your spine. Low impact exercises include swimming, walking, and yoga. Try some easy fixes – like walking around the block, or joining a yoga class – on your own, and see if that helps.

Take Walking Breaks:

If you are one of the desk job people of the world, take some time to get up and walk around the office once or twice a day. Set an alarm in your phone and make a point of standing up and moving around. If you are talking walking breaks, make sure to have proper footwear on. For many seniors, it’s hard to stay mobile because of instability. If this is the case, check out these shoes. They provide a slip resistant sole as well as support to help with stability.

Ice/Heat:

If your back pain is the result of a minor injury, you can apply an ice or heat pack to it. Icing a new injury is the best move for the first 48 or so, because it reduces inflammation. Only after that can you switch to heat, if you prefer it.

Over-the-counter or Prescription Medication:

You might want to try an over-the-counter medicine for pain management. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory medication. Whatever the case, consult your doctor to make sure it’s right for you, especially in conjunction with other medication you may be taking.

Cortisone Injections:

If the reason for your back pain is a pinched nerve, your doctor may prescribe cortisone injections around your spinal cord. This helps reduce inflammation around your nerves. This is generally for more pressing back pain, consult your doctor whenever back pain is affecting you from living your every day life.

Electrical Stimulation:

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a safe and painless treatment that sends a current through your skin to nerve pathways. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, TENS is meant to interrupt the pain signal to the brain.

Other Alternative Treatments:

Other alternative treatments such as acupuncture and botox injections to the spine have been used to treat low back pain. For these treatments you will need to talk to your doctor to see if this path is best for you.

Back Pain Prevention: how to stay strong and healthy

Stay Strong & Flexible:

Aside from helping with low back pain, stretches and regular exercise can also prevent it from happening all together. With a strong and flexible body, your back muscles are better equipped to protect you. Even small movements throughout the day will help your back from staying in any one position for too long and hurting it. Check out these easy back exercises that you can do daily to begin.

Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Being too heavy is a common strain on the back muscles. Maintaining a healthy body weight for your height is essential to preventing back pain. Dieting is hard, but start with having one “health day” a week. This is one day where you cut out junk food and beverages. Start with once a week and try to build up to more. Back pain prevention means more than going on a diet, you need to have a healthier lifestyle for lasting results.

Improve Your Posture:

Slumping makes it difficult for your back to correctly support your weight. Be mindful of standing and sitting up straight. You can use tools like ergonomic chairs, low heeled shoes, and back-friendly mattresses to help with this.

Improve Your Core Strength:

Something people don’t often think of is how important your core is in correlation to your back. Often if you have a weak core, your back will take on the weight and pressure that your core should be taking. This often leads to many lower back issues. Keep a strong core with easy exercises like plank and crunches. Whenever you are lifting heavy objects, ensure that you are flexing your core so you don’t throw out your back.

Quit Smoking:

Smoking cigarettes prevent the flow of oxygen to the spinal tissues. Kick the habit to increase circulation and relieve pain. Quitting smoking helps more than just your lungs, it increases the circulation throughout your entire body, helping with a lot of chronic pains. Try switching to vaporizing or gum!

When it comes to your back, the small things make a big difference. It doesn’t take a lot to maintain a healthier lifestyle to keep your back safe. Standing and moving around, and eating one “health day” will already make a big difference.

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The Giving Care Team is a group of senior and adaptive clothing professionals dedicated to helping the elderly maintain a comfortable and dignified lifestyle with tips and secrets on how to get the most out of life when disability and age fight to stop us at every opportunity. The Giving Care Blog is a resource for seniors, their families and caregivers.

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