If you’ve ever struggled with back pain, you’re not alone—about eight in ten Americans experience it at some point in their lives. But even when an ailment is as common as back pain, that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless to stop it!
In fact, preventing back pain can be as simple as making a few changes to your habits and lifestyle. We’ll be exploring several of those tips for preventing back pain in today’s post, along with a few tips for managing and reducing back pain in case it ever does become a problem!
13 Ways To Reduce Back Pain (Or Avoid It Entirely)
1. Strengthen And Stretch Your Back
Back pain is often the result of someone straining their back muscles while attempting to lift a heavy object. If your back muscles aren’t strong or developed enough to help bear the weight, you risk straining and even injuring your spine in the process.
But when your back muscles are strengthened through regular exercise, those muscles provide extra support to the spine and help prevent injury.
Stretching your back muscles regularly is also important, as both stretching and strengthening the back muscles are keys to healing and preventing back pain.
Practicing yoga regularly can help increase both flexibility and strength in your back, even if you’re already suffering from back pain. In a 2017 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, participants with chronic lower back pain who attended weekly yoga classes for three months experienced just as much improvement to their pain level and back function as participants who received standard physical therapy.
2. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Body weight can also be a factor with back pain, because excess body weight places stress on your lower back muscles that can become painful over time. To maintain a healthy body weight, make sure to exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you’re not sure whether your current body weight is considered “healthy” or not, schedule a visit with your doctor or trusted health professional.
3. Maintain Good Posture
Good posture is crucial for keeping your back healthy and strong! When standing, the correct way to stand up straight is to make sure your ears are in line with your shoulders, your shoulders are in line with your hip joints, and your hip joints are in line with your ankles.
When sitting, keep your back straight and try to avoid slouching forward. Choose an ergonomic chair that helps you maintain good sitting posture throughout the workday.
4. Choose Good Footwear
If you are experiencing back pain when walking, standing, or running, your shoes or walking gait may be to blame. If your shoes aren’t supportive enough, your body will compensate to keep your body stable by putting extra pressure on your knees, hips and lower back.
When shopping for shoes, be sure to choose ones that help to support a good standing posture. As a general rule, the lower the heel, the better the shoes will be for your back!
5. Lift Correctly
When it comes to lifting heavy objects, you have to know your own limits. Don’t lift objects like boxes or furniture that are too heavy for you to carry on your own.
And when you do lift things, bend your knees, don’t twist your body, and keep your head down and in line with your back.
6. Eat Foods That Fight Inflammation
Pain and inflammation are inextricable, which is why remedies that target inflammation may be helpful in reducing back pain. One way to reduce inflammation is by eating foods and spices with natural anti-inflammatory properties, like turmeric, ginger, and capsaicin.
Eating foods that contain these anti-inflammatory ingredients regularly may help reduce pain over time.
7. Quit Smoking
And speaking of inflammation, there are plenty of habits that contribute to inflammation by reducing our body’s ability to repair itself. Smoking is one such habit, giving smokers who suffer from back pain (whether mild or chronic) one more reason to quit!
8. Avoid Heavy Purses And Thick Wallets
Heavy bags or purses can change your balance when you walk, and eventually affect the actual curve of your spine. But how heavy is too heavy?
A good rule of thumb is to make sure the weight of your bag, backpack, or briefcase is less than 10% of your own body weight. Weigh your shoulder bag, backpack, or briefcase on your bathroom scale, and if it’s over 10% of your body weight, pare down the contents to make it lighter.
Similarly, having a thick wallet in your back pocket while sitting can also throw your spine out of alignment. Either remove your wallet from your pocket before sitting, or pare down the contents of your wallet to make it thinner.
9. Reduce Stress
Stress is another leading cause of back pain, because stress causes your muscles to contract which places extra pressure on your spine. Manage your stress levels by taking time for yourself, doing regular exercise, attending therapy or counseling, or whatever method of de-stressing works for you.
10. Correct Your Sleeping Position
Some sleeping positions are better than others for your back. Sleeping on your side is the most common sleep position, but it can lead to spine alignment issues if your hips aren’t positioned properly. Using a knee pillow can help keep your hips in alignment while you sleep.
For other types of back pain, particularly in the lower back, sleeping on your back may be more beneficial. If this position is also painful, try putting a pillow underneath your knees for added support.
Experiment with sleep positions to find the one that works best for you and for your back. While there is no one-size-fits-all sleep solution, keep in mind that sleeping on your stomach is not recommended. This tends to create the most strain on the back and can make back problems worse.
11. Use Hot And Cold Treatments
The benefits of using hot and cold treatments for back pain vary from person to person, but they’re so simple that it’s worth trying both! Cold treatments such as ice packs can help to reduce inflammation in your back, and using a hot water bottle or heating pad can ease stiffness and pain.
12. Try Aquatic Therapies
Aquatic therapy exercises, which are typically performed in a warm, therapuetic pool to ease strain on the joints, can help strengthen your back muscles, increase flexibility, and release tension that may be contributing to back pain.
Whirlpool baths can also be helpful for back pain. The heat of the water can help relax the muscles while the movement of the water helps to promote healthy blood circulation.
13. Use Restore
Essential oils can be a powerful tool when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation. I always reach for Restore Essential Oil Blend when I have aches and pains, which features anti-inflammatory oils like peppermint, camphor, helichrysum, and more.
If I’m at home, I like to add a few drops of Restore to a bit of fractionated coconut oil and apply it that way, or I’ll use my handy Restore Blend Roll-On if I’m out of the house or in a hurry. I’ve even used Restore to make a homemade pain relieving cream that my whole family reaches for when they have aches and pains.
Whether you’re currently experiencing back pain or want to prevent it from becoming an issue, these simple tips will help. These long-term and short-term strategies will help you support the health of your back so that it can continue to support you for years to come! 🙂
What’s your best tip for treating or avoiding back pain?
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