Our Aching Backs - What Works and What Doesn’t
It is estimated that about 80% of Americans will experience some form of back pain or discomfort at some point in their life, and many people rely on medications to relieve it. That’s a huge number of people, which leaves health care experts wondering why so many suffer from often preventable and unnecessary discomfort.
If an aching back is something that interferes with your overall quality of life, keep reading to learn what works to help reduce back pain and what doesn’t. We will also look at why back pain happens in the first place, so you can try to prevent the pain before it becomes a bigger issue.
What Causes Back Issues?
Back aches and discomfort can happen for a number of reasons. For some, it has to do with postural issues while others may suffer from an acute back injury. Here are some of the most common causes of back issues.
- Poor posture
- Sitting at a desk all day
- Back injury
- Muscle pain from exercise
- Pinched nerve or other nerve related issues
- Slipped, herniated or bulging discs
- Sprains and/or strains
- Muscle spasms
- Excess weight
- Lifting heavy items
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
We know that back pain is bound to affect most of us at some point in our lives, so it’s important to understand what we can do to relieve it without having to rely on medications. The great news is that there are many different natural ways to help reduce back pain. Let's talk about some of these options.
Six tips for keeping your back healthy
#1 Use an Anti-Gravity Table
Anti-gravity tables, otherwise known as inversion tables, can be extremely helpful for those suffering from back issues. These can be especially beneficial for the lower back or sciatica. The purpose of this type of non-invasive therapy is to help decompress the spine and ultimately help relieve aches. When you use an inversion table, you are working against gravity to help reduce the compression on your spine, nerves, and discs, which can be common sources of pain or discomfort. The goal is to relieve the discomfort while also lengthening the spine, which can also help to alleviate some of the pressure you may experience on a daily basis. Using an anti-gravity table has also been shown to help those suffering from muscle spasms, and can also be great for improving circulation. All in all this is a great natural therapy option for those with mild to moderate back issues who are looking to rely less on pain medications.
#2 Vibrating Plates
Vibration therapy is a fairly new therapy option for relieving pain, including back aches. A vibrating plate is a type of machine that helps to promote the neuromuscular stretch reflex in the body. These plates can be adjusted and set to various frequencies depending on the person. When you use these plates, your muscles will contract which will help to improve blood flow and may even help strengthen muscles. Many are turning to this whole body vibration therapy to help reduce back aches while also supporting overall muscle strength which can help alleviate back pain over time.
#3 Hot & Cold Packs
Using hot and cold packs are two of the easiest ways to help relieve back pain, and both are easily accessible. While cold may work best for some, heat works better for others. Ice is most commonly used for injuries, as it can help reduce inflammation and swelling. This can also help to reduce the discomfort temporarily. Heat, on the other hand, is more commonly used for muscle pain or chronic back pain issues. You can alternate the cold and heat packs for optimal results.
#4 Lumbar Pillows
Investing in a lumbar pillow may be able to significantly reduce your back pain since we spend roughly eight hours per day in bed. Not sleeping on the right pillow when your back is already experiencing issues can certainly lead to further back issues and it can be a vicious cycle. Lumbar pillows are great because they are designed to help support the spine, reduce any muscle or nerve tension, and ultimately help you sleep better with reduced aches. These pillows are easy to find and can make a big difference in your quality of sleep.
#5 Strengthen the Abdominal Muscles
The strength of your abdominal muscles plays a huge role when it comes to back issues. Weak abdominal muscles can cause a bad back since abdominals work to support posture, and with poor posture comes back aches. Poor abdominal strength can also cause the spine to be out of alignment, which can be another source of discomfort. It’s important to exercise these muscles to maintain proper posture and alignment to reduce back pain or prevent it from happening in the first place.
#6 Supplement with Curcumin
In addition to tools and gadgets to help reduce aches and discomfort, curcumin is a natural supplement that can help support a healthy inflammatory response in the body. Try supplementing with curcumin daily not just to support a healthy back, but to support your body’s overall health.
What Doesn’t Work?
While everyone is going to respond to natural therapies a bit differently, taking over-the-counter pain medication around the clock to reduce back aches isn’t a smart long-term solution, as it only puts a temporary band-aid on the issue. It is much more important to address the ache at its source to help correct the problem, so you don’t have to continue to suffer.
Chronic back discomfort can interfere with overall quality of life — taking preventative steps such as strengthening your abdominal muscles, correcting your posture, and sleeping on the proper pillow can make a very big difference. Give these natural back health techniques a try — you may be surprised at what a difference they can make to your overall quality of life.