A backache can make you miserable, rendering daily routines difficult to achieve and a constant reminder that something’s not right. Even though back pain may slow you down, you can now get rid of back pain, if you follow these guidelines.
Set it right
Backaches are rarely very serious, unless a slipped disc or strained spinal column is rendering you immobile. Very often, small corrections in postures and habits go a long way in alleviating back pain.
Most people with backache complain of stiffness when they wake up in the morning. While a small amount of stiffness if expected after hours of rest, a pain in the back is unacceptable. Your mattress could be the culprit – either too soft to support your spine as you sleep, or too firm to let your muscles rest. If not your mattress, it could be a lingering problem that you may have ignored.
Flip your mattress to distribute your weight evenly over it. Also, do a simple stretching exercise when you wake up every morning. Some people experience back pain if they don’t sleep enough. If you can, take a couple of days off from work simply to rest your back. If the pain is acute, you will need medical help.
Don’t sleep too much
However, those with back pain would do well to not rest too much in bed. Says Dr Rahul Shringare, orthopaedic surgeon, “Too much bed rest weakens the back further. You should engage yourself in moderate activity like walking, but not running or gardening.”
Alternate your periods of rest with periods of activity. Avoid gymming or running that will strain your back. However, do light stretching so that your back gets exercise and does not ‘freeze’.
Though some people give themselves a backache by overdoing their exercise routines, it is exercise that can rescue them. However, the workout you do must be approved by a certified trainer and your doctor, if you’ve consulted one.
Walking keeps the spine and back in a neutral position, so it’s a good exercise. Yoga also helps alleviate backache. Try ‘sarpasan’ for a strong back – lie down on the floor with your palms placed under your shoulders. Slowly lift your back (without lifting your feet off the ground) keeping your elbows at not more than 60 degrees angle. Hold for three seconds, then release. Repeat laps of 10 and do two sets.
Slouching at the computer, suddenly bending to pick up an object off the floor, even coughing while bending over, can give you painful back spasms that take days to heal. Though you will do damage even with a rigid back at all times, you must remember to sit up straight at work or at home, and to avoid putting pressure on the lower back, support your lumbar with a firm pillow when you sit.
Always bend your knees when you bend over. Keeping the knees locked and your legs straight when bending puts tremendous pressure on your spine. Every once in a while, get up from your seat and stretch, take a short walk around the office. Keep your back as straight as you can without feeling pressure in the lumbar. Your shoulders must be aligned in a straight plane, instead of rounded inwards.
Avoid massaging a sore back
Wrong exercise or a blunt trauma can bruise and inflame your back muscles, causing swelling. Most people wrongly assume that massage creams and oils are to be applied on swollen, painful areas of the body -these are only to be used on aching parts that are not inflamed or swollen.
If your back is swollen, apply an ice pack till the swelling goes down. After this, apply heat pads to repair the tender muscles in the painful area. Do not rub with a massage cream, it will only tear the tender muscles and tissue.
Strengthen your abs
It seems strange, but it is true that if your ab core is weak, it will strain your back further. People with strong abs are found to experience less back pain than others.
Strong abs does not mean a six-pack, but a core that can easily do crunches or flips without spasms. Get a fitness trainer to prescribe exercises for stronger abdominal muscles. Also consider exercises for hamstrings, chest and calves.