Back Attack: 7 Strategies to Relieve Your Backache
Whether it’s from sitting at a desk all day or pushing yourself a little too hard at the gym, back pain is one of the most common problems among people today. Blame it on technology or long commutes or whatever you will, but every day individuals are shifting in their seats or turning over in their sleep trying to make that pinch go away. Because there are countless causes for what could be making your back ache, it’s difficult to prescribe one solution. But if you’ve tried a few different remedies and have yet to find relief, here’s a list of therapeutic options that may be able to help alleviate pain.
Use a Foam Roller
What’s better than having an excuse to give yourself a massage? Using a foam roller to relax tight knots is a great way to combat stiff back muscles. The problem is that without the education on how to use them, it’s easy to make mistakes in your rolling routine. Some techniques to avoid: rolling too quickly, only rolling when you’re in pain, or only rolling on pain sites. Generally, you should try to keep a rolling routine (such as once a week) to relax muscles before they create larger problems. Also keep in mind that the cause of the pain might not be at the pain site itself, so rolling a wider area around the site is best.
Take Up Yoga
Practicing yoga, and stretching in general, can hugely improve your flexibility and strength. It’s a great option if you suspect your back pain originates from long hours sitting at the office or behind the wheel of a car. If you’re unsure where to start, try the standard Cow and Cat positions. They’re extremely simple, don’t require much flexibility or effort and they feel great.
Try a Different Sleeping Position
Even if your back pain is caused by something else, sleeping in a position that puts too much pressure on your muscles and joints can exacerbate the problem. Try switching up the way you fall asleep. If you’re usually a stomach-sleeper, perhaps lie on your side instead with a pillow between your legs. Relax on your back if lying on your side is what comes naturally. If you’re having trouble falling asleep in a new position, guided meditations are abundant on YouTube and are extremely helpful in leading you to rest.
Go for a Swim
There’s a reason hydrotherapy is so popular. The buoyancy of water creates a feeling of weightlessness, releasing tension in your muscles caused by gravity’s pressure. Whether you decide to go to a professional or simply go for a float in your backyard pool, swimming is a fun and soothing way to relieve your backache.
Administering heat to a sore spot on your back can help to relax the muscles and loosen up tight knots. Although you don’t want to leave heat on for too long, using it in small bursts — such as 20 minutes at a time — is a great way to soothe your pain. Heat wraps, electric heating pads and warmed-up gel packs are convenient and efficient choices, but to amp up the comfort for an ultra-relaxing experience, try taking a hot bath instead.
Exercise Your Core
Many times, back pain is simply caused by weak muscles in your torso. Getting in a little bit of exercise — even something as small as sitting on an exercise ball for 30 minutes a day — can help to strengthen your muscles and reduce pain. Of course, strengthening these muscles will not happen overnight. But it may be worth it to put in the effort now and eliminate long-term pain.
Get a Massage
You don’t have to tell us twice! If home remedies aren’t doing it for you, consider seeking help from a professional. You may choose to pursue a physical therapist with a prescription from your doctor, but massage therapists also have special training to treat body pain and don’t require a doctor’s referral. Plus, it’s great justification for getting a weekly massage (don’t worry, we won’t tell)!
Remember that back pain can be caused by any number of things, and while the above suggestions are a great place to start, you should always consult with your doctor before any type of treatment.
Credit: Photo by Valentin Lacoste & Christopher Campbell on Unsplash
- Lifestyle Staff