The Daily Spine
Tips for Living Well With Back Pain
Looking for a remedy for your sore back?
For safety's sake, the first thing to do is to determine if your pain is acute. Ask yourself: did you just injure yourself in the last 2 days? Or — if you have a chronic condition — are you experiencing a flare up? If the answer to either is yes, your pain is likely acute, and you should talk to your doctor about how to get relief. Generally, for mild strains, your doctor will tell you to take an anti-inflammatory pain medication, to ice the area, and to reduce your activity levels for a few days. If the pain persists longer than a week, you may need to speak with her again.
Once you're past the acute phase, and your doctor and/or physical therapist clears you for exercise and activity, you may be looking for simple ways to relieve back pain yourself.
Relief You Can Manage Yourself for Back Pain
Most epidemiological research on causes of back pain (epidemiology is the study of the patterns of disease in society) report that approximately 80% of back pain cases are muscle and/or posture related. For this reason, it's a good idea to learn about things like spinal alignment, exercise, movement, holistic therapies and relaxation techniques. Muscle relaxants for back pain are not always necessary or recommended: it depends on your injury and condition, and if you are going to physical therapy. In other words, muscle relaxants for back pain are a topic you should discuss with your doctor.
- Back Pain Statistics
- How to Align Your Spine
- What Research Says About Natural Remedies for Back and Neck Pain
- Types of Back Exercise Programs
So if your back pain falls into this 80% of cases category, you may, for most issues that come up, simply need a back exercise program to do daily, and some knowledge about how to position yourself so that your muscles relax.
Here are a few basics on positional release of tight muscles that can cause back pain:
- Hooklying is one of the most effective positional release techniques I know. In hooklying, you simply lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. While in this position, you can take a few minutes to breathe deeply and allow tensions dissolve. Personally, I find this little pick-me-up to be a very time-effective way to relieve pain and rejuvenate my energy, especially when I sense stress is at the root of my current back pain.
When and how to Lie On Your Back With Your Legs Straight Some people like to stretch out their legs (and arms) when they lie on their backs. This can be great for your muscles, particularly after you've been sitting at the computer for a while.
Just the same, a few precautions exist for protecting your joints; for example, you might consider placing a medium or small sized pillow under your knees to help you avoid locking them inadvertently. Locking (also called knee hyper-extension) can be jarring to those joints.
Re-establish Muscle Balance With A Quadriceps Stretch. One of the most common muscle conditions that leads to back pain is the combination of tight quadriceps with weaker hamstrings, often due to a sedentary lifestyle. In this situation, the tight quadriceps pull the pelvis out of alignment — into an anterior tilt; the weaker hamstrings do little or nothing to stop this aberration from occurring.
Anterior pelvic tilt quite often leads to extra-tight back muscles, and pain. A quadriceps stretch may be just the quick fix you need to restore your pelvic position and lower back muscles into balance.