June 20, 2009
Back pain can put a damper on every part of your life — both work and fun. Back pain can cause you to miss work — from a few days to several weeks.
Many Americans suffer from back pain — and in most cases it can be prevented. Here are the most common causes of back pain and their solutions.
Trigger: Stress can cause back and neck pain — so removing the stress is the best answer.
Solution: To remove stress, try prolonged breathing, a brisk walk, and stretching as often as possible. You can also try giving yourself a neck rub, relaxation techniques, or meditation.
Trigger: Poor posture is also to blame for back pain. Slouching puts strain and tension on the supporting muscles and ligaments of your lower back.
Solution:Try sitting with your lower back supported by the back of your chair or with a lumbar cushion. Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips are aligned.
Trigger: Improper lifting, pulling, or trying to lift or pull heavy objects alone can also lead to recurring twinges of pain in the lower back.
Solution: If it's necessary to lift or pull a heavy object, find someone to help you or use a cart or dolly to push the object. When lifting heavy objects, keep your back and neck in alignment and let your legs and abdominal muscles do the work.
Scheduling daily aerobic exercise, stretching, and relaxing can play a part in preventing back pain. Try to wear flat or low-heeled shoes and shift positions to eliminate strain. Shed any extra pounds to eliminate added strain on your back. Do exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles. Remember your body is supported by both the back and the abdominal muscles.
In most cases, low back pain resolves itself within two weeks. But you may need your doctor's help to get your back on track including different types of therapy or treatments. Always check with your doctor for appropriate at-home remedies - different types of pain require different treatment, such as hot or cold, lying down, or stretching.At-home treatments
Physical therapists use treatments like massage and exercise to reduce pain. They may use applications of heat or cold. A physical therapist can help you develop new habits that reduce future strain.
Chiropractors don't prescribe drugs or do surgery. Instead, they use leverage and a series of exercises to adjust the spine and restore proper function to your back.
Acupuncturists insert needles the width of a human hair along precise points throughout the body to trigger the release of naturally occurring pain-killing molecules that keep the body's normal flow of energy unblocked. Studies are under way to measure the effectiveness of acupuncture in comparison to more conventional procedures in the treatment of back pain.
If over-the-counter pain medicine doesn't work, your doctor may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant. For serious pain, some doctors recommend corticosteroid injections.
* Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
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