Back pain can stop you in your tracks, making it difficult to concentrate and live life to the fullest. Fortunately, by staying aware and nurturing your back before pain starts or grows worse, you might be able to avoid the worst of it. Following are five key techniques for managing back pain.
1. Move around
Although twinges of back pain may make you want to lie in bed or stay as still as possible, getting up and walking around helps alleviate discomfort. People with desk jobs are especially prone to sitting still for long lengths of time and should consider taking a walk every hour, even if it’s just to get a drink of water. Regardless of your daily routine, a lunchtime stroll provides a jolt of fresh air and a break for your back.
2. Lift with good form
Picking up heavy things by bending over with straight knees is a fast way to aggravate low back pain. To pick an item up safely, bend your knees first so your legs do the lifting instead of your back. Avoid straining to pick something up that’s too heavy. Instead, ask for help.
3. Stand up straight
Slouching can be a tough habit to break, but developing good posture is essential for low back health and to reduce pain. Whether standing or sitting, try to keep your spine straight and in line with your head and hips. If you must sit for a long time, opt for a chair with either a straight back or lumbar support to ensure maximum protection.
4. Sleep on your side
Minimizing back pain during the day often starts at night. Wake up feeling good by sleeping on your side. For added comfort, try adding a pillow between your knees. The cushioning supports your legs, in turn keeping your lower spine straight. If you’d rather sleep on your back, try placing a cushion underneath your knees to keep your spine supported. While both of these are decent options, try not to sleep on your stomach as this can cause the most strain on the back.
5. Reduce repetitive movements
Repeatedly bending or twisting, even with actions as simple as reaching down for a file or turning to answer the phone, can aggravate back pain when compounded throughout the day. At work, try storing frequently used files on your desk and wear a headset while taking calls. At home, keep items you need in an easily reachable spot and ask for help when picking up around the house.
How do you manage back pain throughout the day?
Image by Paul Downey via Flickr