When it comes to back pain, the numbers aren’t really so kind to women. Four out of five women have or will experience back pain that’s so bad they need to see skip work to stay home and rest or see their doctors. This means that you have an 80% chance of being a victim of bad back at some point in time. Use these 20 back pain remedies and tricks to prevent back pain in the future.
#1 Do Things in Moderation
Too much sitting, standing, walking, and even lying down can be bad for your back. The key here lies in moderation, so take a break every now and then from any of these activities. Stand up after sitting for an hour and walk around, or take office phone calls while standing up. If you have been on your feet for quite some time, sit down and prop your feet up for a couple of minutes.
#2 Stand Up Straight
Be mindful of your posture – especially when standing for long periods of time. Keep one foot a little bit in front of the other and your knees slightly bent. This reduces pressure on your lower back
#3 Sit Properly
Improper sitting posture can put plenty of stress on your lower spine. Sit tall and keep your feet flat on the ground, at least shoulder width apart. In line with tip #1, take a break from time to time.
#4 Reduce Your Daily Bag Load
Most women tend to carry laptops or tablets, a few mobile phones, a planner, a big bag of makeup and toiletries inside their bags. With handbags so huge, there’s no wonder why we carry plenty of things we really don’t need. In fact, you might not notice but a full shoulder bag can easily weigh as much as 10 pounds. Carrying this on one shoulder every day puts you at risk of getting upper back pain, so lighten your load whenever you can and leave the non-essentials at home.
#5 Wear a Backpack
If you can’t reduce the number of things you need to bring to work with you every day, then a backpack is definitely your best solution. This transfers the weight of the items into your upper back muscles, which are stronger than the muscles in your shoulders. If you don’t like backpacks, a bag with a long sling that you can wear diagonally across your body is also a great alternative.
#6 Watch Your Weight
Extra weight, especially in the midsection area, can cause back pain by straining your lower back and shifting your center of gravity. Stay within your ideal weight range to help control back pain.
Exercise is one of the best preventive measures you can take because it keeps your back muscles in good shape and prevents injury from simple movements such as pushing or lifting. Exercise also keeps you from gaining weight, which can be a problem as well.
#8 Strengthen Your Core
You can benefit from a stronger core as it supports other muscle groups in the area thereby reducing strain on your lower back.
#9 Be Flexible
Too much tightness and tension in your back can cause pain, so it is important to keep your back flexible and put an equal load on all parts of your back.
#10 Reach, Move, Lift, and Carry Properly
Reaching, lifting, carrying, and moving heavy items without proper form can cause back injury. If you have to reach for things, use a stool or a step-ladder instead of straining. When moving heavy items, push instead of pull, as it is easier on your back. If you must carry objects, keep them as close to your body as you can. Bend your knees and squat when lifting heavy objects instead of bending from the waist.
#11 Go Easy on the Stilettos
Stilettos may look lovely yet can affect your center of gravity and strain your back in the process. You’ll also have to deal with bunions and hammertoes. Try sticking to one- or two-inch heels if you must wear them. If you need to go higher, don’t wear stilettos the whole day. Bring a pair of foldable flats that you can slip into whenever you feel uncomfortable.
#12 Lose the Skinny Jeans, Too
Aside from its wide range of potential ill effects on your nerves around the lower back and groin area, tight clothing can interfere with movement such as sitting, bending, and walking making back pain worse.
#13 Quit Smoking
Smokers have a higher chance of experiencing back pain because nicotine reduces the amount of blood that flows to your vertebral discs.
#14 Sleep Well
Sleep on your back as this is the best position to avoid pain. If you like sleeping on your side, put a pillow between your knees so that your muscles can relax more.
#15 Slow Down Things
Most of our body’s aches and pains are not just caused by physical injury. Sometimes it’s because we tend to move so fast and push ourselves too hard. If this is the case, give yourself a break from time to time. Your back (and the rest of your body) will thank you.
When back pain strikes:
#16 Limit Bed Rest
The most common reaction when experiencing back pain is to lie down and rest until the pain subsides. Experts, however, believe that you should limit bed rest and try to slowly move around or do gentle stretches.
#17 Apply Ice and Heat
Ice packs and heating pads can be a great source of comfort for aching trunks. Doctors usually recommend using cold therapy for the first 48 hours, especially if there is swelling, and then switching to hot pads afterwards.
#18 Do Gentle Stretching
Stretching the soft tissues on your shoulders and back can really help in pain management, but it is important that you see a specialist who can recommend the right stretches for you. Otherwise, you may end up hurting yourself even more.
#19 Take OTC Meds
While some back pain can be dealt with by just resting and using ice or heat, there are times when back pain may be so severe that you may need some additional help. When using over the counter pain medication, be sure that you follow guidelines so that you do not take too many at a given time. If you notice that you’re taking OTC pills regularly for your back pain, see a specialist right away. You may need to address the source of the pain through different treatments or methods.
#20 See a Specialist
While most cases of back pain go away on their own, there are times when you need to see a specialist or doctor to help you deal with the problem. Visiting one is a good idea if you notice that the pain does not improve after rest and medication or if you experience tingling, numbness, weakness and fever. These may be symptoms of a more serious problem which needs treatment as soon as possible.
While the above tips will certainly help in addressing back pain, it’s always best to prevent it before you find yourself in agony. And remember, this advice in no way replaces that of a qualified medical professional so, when in doubt, always consult your doctor on the best treatment for your back pain.