Relief from Back Pain

What are the Best Ways to Get Relief from Back Pain

First and foremost, at some point in their lives, close to 80 percent of Americans try to get relief from back pain of some kind. Next, adult women experience more back pain than adult men. Also, 33 percent of adults say back pain effects everyday activities, including sleep. Moreover, 90 percent of acute low back pain is resolved within six weeks.

Relief from Back Pain due to Spine Problems

Ankylosing Spondylitis

This type of arthritis typically starts by making your lower back and hips stiff and sore, especially in the morning. Over time, it spreads up your spine and to other joints and organs. Vertebrae and bones in the rib cage could fuse, leaving you hunched over. Young men get it more often than women and it may be hereditary. Early treatment with exercise and medication helps slow the progress.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

The nerves that branch out from your spine in the lower back help your brain control your legs and the organs in your pelvis. A herniated disk, fracture, or other condition could put pressure on this group of nerves, called the cauda equina. Surgery is needed right away to restore any loss of feeling, movement, or control of your bladder and bowels.

Cervical Spondylosis

As you get older, the following can happen to the spine in your neck: you could get a slipped disk; or the vertebrae may sprout extra bone, called spurs; or the ligaments that connect the vertebrae can get stiff and tight. Consequently, your neck may hurt or harder to move. Or you could have permanent damage if the disks or vertebrae squeeze nerves and nerve roots a lot.

Relief from Back Pain due to Kyphosis

In this condition the spine bends forward. It usually happens when the vertebrae crack or mash down. It’s most common in older women. It can cause pain and other problems, and, in severe cases, it bends your whole body out of shape. Treatment include painkillers, exercise, or surgery.

Osteoarthritis

Most noteworthy, each of the Spine’s vertebrae has slippery tissue at both ends that helps the back flex without friction. If this cartilage gets rough or wears down, the vertebrae start to rub against each other, and it makes your back painful or stiff. Known as Osteoarthritis, this problem occurs because of:

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    Repeated overuse from performing a specific task or
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    Playing a favorite sport or
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    Exercising such as jogging or running for years or
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    From carrying around excess body weight

Eventually the repeated impact, from these activities, thins or wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the vertebrae. As a result, the vertebrae rub together, causing a grating sensation. Joint flexibility is reduced, bony spurs develop, and the joint swells. Usually, the first symptom of osteoarthritis is pain that worsens following exercise or immobility. Regrettably, osteoarthritis tends to get worse over time. While it can’t be reversed, painkiller, therapy, and exercise can help ease the symptoms.

Osteoporosis

In the United States, more than 53 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass. In fact, osteoporosis, is a condition resulting from loss of bone tissue. As a result, bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. In addition, osteoporosis can result in a loss of height, severe back pain, and change in posture. Finally, osteoporosis, can impair a person’s ability to walk and can cause prolonged or permanent disability.

Most noteworthy, some of the risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:

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    Thinness or small body frame
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    Family history of the disease
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    Being postmenopausal and particularly having had early menopause
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    Abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
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    Prolonged use of certain medications, such as those used to treat lupus, asthma, thyroid deficiencies, and seizures
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    Low calcium intake
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    Lack of physical activity
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    Smoking
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    Excessive alcohol intake.

Incidentally, osteoporosis can progress undetected for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone density scanner.

Relief from Back Pain due to Sciatica

The sciatica nerve causes pain to shoot down your lower back through into your leg. This happens because a herniated disk, bone spur, or some other spine problems puts pressure on the nerve. Hot packs, cold packs, stretching and painkillers can help.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where your spine is out of shape. The most common type affects children during their growth spurt bending the spine sideways. The shoulders might be uneven or one shoulder blade might stick out more than the other. A brace may help as well as surgery.

Slipped or Herniated Disk

A cushion called a disk is located between each pair of vertebrae. As you get older, these disks start to dry out. Consequently, if you put too much stress on your back, the disk may tear or break. As a result of this herniated disk, the arms or legs might hurt or fell numb or tingly. Hopefully exercise or painkiller may help. If not, the only alternative is to have an operation.

Spinal Stenosis

The spine has a space in the middle for the spinal cord and nerves that branch out. When those space shrink, bones can press against the nerves. Any time these nerves are touched, you could feel pain, tingling, or numbness, or your muscles might seem weak.

About 90% of those with this condition develop it as part of the natural process of aging. As you age, your bones naturally go through a process of degeneration. This is called spondylosis. This process is worsened by osteoarthritis—arthritis of the bone that is felt in the joints. This leaves less space between your individual vertebrae which, along with loss of bone mass, can promote bone spurs. Your body’s facet joints begin to grow to account for the extra stress your back is put under by this process. That leaves even less space for the nerve roots that flow through your spinal cord and down your spine. In severe cases, a surgeon can make more room for the nerves.

Spondylolisthesis

Vertebrae may slide sideways, so that they don’t line up with the ones above or below them. This is a main cause of lower back pain. It happens as your body ages, but it can affect young people who do sports that stress the lower back like football, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Rest helps, but surgery might be needed.

Syringomyelia

Sometimes, a little fluid-filled sac called a cyst can form in the spinal cord. It could happen when brain tissue pushes down from your skull into your spinal cord or from an injury or tumor. Syringomyelia does cause problems. However, if the cyst keeps growing, in can injure your spinal cord, in which case surgery is needed.

Tumor

Cancer growing in the lungs, breasts, prostate, and bone more likely spreads to the spine. Consequently, your back hurts with the pain spreading throughout the body. Your arms or legs may become numb or weak. Part of you body could even be paralyzed. At this point, surgery, radiation, or chemo are the most likely way to get some relief.

Relief from Back Pain due to Behavioral Causes

Backpack

Backpacks are great for carrying load as you walk or hike. However, the wrong backpack or not wearing it correctly puts a strain on your shoulders, neck, and back, as well as tiring out muscles supporting your spine. Therefore, use the following guidelines to avoid or lessen these effects.

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    Reduce the weight in the backpack. In fact, heavy load may cause spinal discs to compress
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    Carry only what is essential
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    Put the heaviest items close to your back and the lighter items on the outside away from your back
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    Use a backpack with wide padded shoulder straps. The width and the padding helps distribute the load as well as providing a cushion.
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    Because it helps distribute the load, always use both straps to carry the backpack
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    Better still, get a backpack with a waist belt. These take some of the load off the shoulders. Consequently, neck pain and back pain above the waist is reduced.

Relief from Back Pain From Wrong Type of Bicycle

Hunching over to grab the handlebars of a bicycle, like a professional is bad for your back. Regrettably, you get back pain if you are too stretched out or cramped up on the bicycle. Therefore, before you buy a bike, get an expert to verify if the bicycle is right for you.

Exercise

First and foremost, regular exercise helps prevent or aggravate back pain. In fact, back pain is more common in those who are unfit or overweight. Also, those who only exercise intermittently have an increased risk of back injury. Most noteworthy, those with acute back injury can recover with a mild exercise program that gradually gets intense.

Meanwhile, don’t do too much of any exercise (including yoga) because overdoing exercise causes back pain. Finally, people who are too thin are also at risk for back pain, especially those with eating disorders and osteoporosis.

Food

Above all, eating unhealthy foods means your body doesn’t get enough nutrients to stay strong and this leads to inflammation. In fact, processed foods made with refined white flour and white sugar are top culprits in causing inflammation. Most noteworthy, these processed foods include packaged white breads and rolls, baked goods and candy. Also, soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks are in the same category.

Next, fried foods and fats -- such as margarine, shortening and lard -- also promote inflammation. So do processed red meats, like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami and other deli meats. Even lean red meat should be limited to once or twice a week.

Instead, replace these foods with those known to be anti-inflammatory, those high in natural antioxidants and other protective compounds.
Incidentally, these include good-for-you fats such as mono- and poly-unsaturated plant-based oils, most types of nuts and seeds, and fish with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Furthermore, other anti-inflammatory foods that should be on your menu are whole grains, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes. Citrus fruits, berries and cherries are also key for fighting inflammation. Next, the body needs lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats like those found in an avocado, to build strong bones, muscles and soft tissue in your back. Finally, eat foods containing nutrients like phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D.

Regrettably, overeating makes you add extra pounds, which put a strain on the bones and muscles in the back. Therefore, it’s best to eat slowly healthy foods with fewer calories.

Relief from Back Pain due to Jogging or Running

As you get older, its best to stop running or jogging. Above all, running or jogging jar your body and the vertebrae with each step. Regrettably, as you get holder, this jarring can lead to arthritis in the lumbar region of the spine. If you must, see your medical provider regularly to make sure the bones in your spine are not deteriorating. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late at which point you have no choice but to stop both running and jogging.

Lifting Weights

Next, lifting weights excessively can result in back pain. Most of all, it’s important to lift weights using correct form. So, if you are not sure what that form is, ask a trainer at the local gym or sports club to show you the correct technique.

Other

Back pain can also be caused by injuries, disk degeneration, and infections.

Sedentary

Next, being sedentary is another reason for back pain. Above all, your spine needs support from strong stomach and back muscles. And, lifting weights or climbing stairs can help. Also, low-impact exercises like walking, biking, or swimming can help by protecting the disks between the spine’s vertebrae.

Sitting for Long Periods of Time

Next, sitting for long periods of time stresses back muscles, neck, and spine. Also, your body doesn’t like sitting for long stretches. So, to relieve your body, it’s best to get up and move around for a few minutes every 30 minutes.

In addition, every hour, gently stretch and move your head and neck in all four directions. Also, once is a while try leaning back in the chair with your feet on the floor with a slight curve in the lower back. Finally, at every opportunity, stand for a few minutes.

Relief from Back Pain due to Sitting Position

One cause of back pain is from sitting hunched over a desk working on a computer. Another cause is from slouching in a chair.  Regrettably, if you hunch over or slouch often enough, over time, the spine’s natural curve is affected. In addition, the cushioning of the disks that lie between the spine’s vertebrae gets damaged. Consequently, arthritis starts to show up.

Moreover, sitting up too straight, in a chair, can also result in back pain. In fact, the best remedy for this is to sit straight in a chair that supports your back. Also, set the chair’s height so that your feet rest naturally on the floor.

Sit-ups

Sit-ups are hard on your back. They push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors. Incidentally, hip flexors are muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. Moreover, when the hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they pull on the lower spine, which puts stress on the lower back.

Instead, do planks. They use a better balance of muscles on the front, sides, and back of the body than sit-ups which only targets a few muscles.

Sleeping Mattress

First and foremost, sleeping on a mattress that hasn’t been replaced in years can hurt your back. Indeed, the mattress needs to be firm enough to support your back, but soft enough to fit the shape of your body.

However, people differ in their response to mattress firmness. In fact, a study on mattress firmness was done in Spain. Some of the study participants slept on a medium-firm mattress. Indeed, a medium-firm mattress is one that is rated 5.6 on a 10 point hard-to-soft scale.  showed that those who slept on a medium-firm mattress (rated 5.6 on a 10 point hard-to-soft scale) had less back pain and disability than those who slept on a firm mattress (2.3 on the scale).

Therefore, at the next opportunity, try out a new mattress and find one that helps you the best.

Relief from Back Pain due to Sleeping Position

While sleeping on your back is fine for some people, for others this can cause low back pain or make the back pain that they already have even worse. If you are used to sleeping this way, one way to get relief is by putting a rolled towel or pillow under your knees. This will help keep the natural curve of you back.

On the other hand, sleeping on your belly is bad if you have a back problem. However, if you are used to sleeping on your belly, put your head on a very soft pillow or sleep without a pillow. This will help keep your neck and back in the best position.

Meanwhile, side sleeping is the best option for a back pain. In addition, putting a pillow between your legs takes the pressure off your hips and lower back.

Finally, the right pillow is also important to avoid or get relief from back pain. For example, orthopedic pillows provide proper support to your spine. Meanwhile, orthopedic pillows are also referred to as therapeutic pillows. And, these therapeutic pillows come in three varieties: cervical, lumbar, and knee.

Smoking

Smoking decreases blood flow to your spine. Consequently, the cushioning disks between your vertebrae break down quicker. Smoking can also weaken bones and give you osteoporosis. Even coughs from smoking can cause back pain. So, it’s best to stop smoking.

Remedies to Get Relief from Back Pain

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    First, bed rest helps with an acute back strain or injury. But don’t stay in bed too long. In fact, remaining immobile in bed can make the back pain worse.
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    Second, spinal manipulation and massage from a chiropractor can relieve many types of back pain.
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    Next, you can give yourself a massage to relieve back pain. For example, deep tissue massagers and handheld back massagers might be something to try before going to an expensive chiropractor or massage therapist.
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    Or, you can even see if chi-machines help.
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    Also, passive motorized leg exercisers help relieve back pain in the elderly. 
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    Next, acupuncture can help with back pain that does not respond to other treatments.
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    In addition, yoga and progressive relaxation can help
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    Finally, cognitive behavioral therapy may help.

About the Author Lisa