If you suffer from back pain, you are far from alone. There are millions of people around the world battling this condition that is one of the foremost causes of disability. If you are trying to get relief without the side effects of medication or the dangers of surgery, here are 10 things you can try.
#1 Change the Way You Sleep
Your sleep habits may be adding to back pain. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position if you have back pain, so you may need to consider changing sleeping positions. If you sleep on your side, try keeping a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, try keeping a pillow behind your knees.
#2 Get Some Exercise
It may seem counter-intuitive to work out when you are in pain, but unless the pain is due to damage caused by an injury, working out is likely to improve the pain rather than make it worse. We’re not talking about cross-fit. You may need to just start with simple stretching. The key, however, is to improve the strength of your core. This will provide your back with better support. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
#3 Improve Your Diet
There are two really important elements to healthy bones. They are calcium and vitamin D. Most people know about calcium. However, the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and use it. Unfortunately, most people are vitamin D deficient due to the western diet of fast food and processed foods. You can get vitamin D naturally from spending some time in the sun each day, eating fatty fish and egg yolks, or by taking a supplement. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor before changing your diet.
#4 Get a New Pair of Shoes
Walking on worn-out shoes is terrible for your back. You need shoes with the proper amount of support, and you should change your shoes as soon as they begin to show significant signs of wear.
#5 Use Better Posture
Poor posture increases the amount of stress on the back. The spine already has to support the head, which weighs about 10-12 pounds. However, when a person walks hunched over or with a forward head position, the amount of pressure on the spine increases dramatically. This can lead to back pain and faster degeneration of the discs.
#6 Don’t Slouch at Work
This is pretty much the same as using better posture but specifically targeted to those who work at an office job and sit behind a desk all day. If can be easy always to have your head tilted forward if your monitors are too low. Be sure to sit straight and in a comfortable chair with lumbar support (if possible).
#7 Quit the Smoking Habit
If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, you now have one more reason to quit. Smoking reduces the amount of blood that reaches the discs that keep the vertebrae from rubbing together. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more you move in the direction of long-term back issues. If you are already in pain, quitting is a fast way to stop making the problem worse.
#8 Lift and Carry Properly
You’ve probably heard people say, “Lift with your knees and not with your back,” for years. It’s a good slogan to live by. But the amount you are lifting is also important, especially if it is one-sided. For example, a heavy bag that is slung over one shoulder is far more likely to add to back pain than weight that is evenly distributed (such as by a high-quality backpack). So be sure not only to lift correctly but also to carry the weight properly.
#9 Stretch Every Day
Whether you need to get up from your desk every hour to stretch for a few minutes or you need to have a stretching routine every morning and night, stretching is a safe way to keep the joints limber so that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t adding to the pain.
#10 Seek Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
You may wonder why you should seek the help of a chiropractor who focuses on the top two bones in the spine if your pain is much lower than that. Here are a few reasons.
Spine health works from the top down. If the bones that balance your head are out of alignment, everything below them will have to shift compensate. The pain occurs, not where the initial problems started, but where the biggest compensation takes place. This is usually in the lower back. Correcting the initial problem is an important element in finding long-term relief.
Upper cervical care is also a gentle adjustment, so you don’t have to worry about being popped and twisted while you are already in pain. Because upper cervical misalignments are very slight (sometimes just a fraction of a millimeter), correcting the problem involves precision measurements and adjustments. These gentle adjustments are long-lasting and thus give the body the time it needs to heal.
As adjustments hold longer and longer, you can also space your appointments out more. That makes this a cost-effective way to handle back pain as well, which is always appreciated by those who are dealing with long-term ailments. To learn more, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your area. You may be a few gentle adjustments away from giving your spine the opportunity it needs to heal itself.