Need to Know – 10 useful things to know if you have low back pain

  1. Ice therapy Putting ice on the painful area can be really useful in the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury because it can help reduce the inflammation. Even though the gut reaction maybe to keep a painful area warm and this certainly feels good because it helps cover up the pain and it does help relax the muscles, the heat actually inflames the inflammatory processes. After 48 hours, you can switch to heat if you prefer. Whether you use heat or ice — take it off after about 20 minutes to give your skin a rest.
  2. Keep moving. Our spines are like the rest of our body — they’re meant to move. You should not refrain from doing your usual daily activities. Continue to do the housework, walk the dog, and drive the kids to school. Once you’re feeling better, regular aerobic exercises like swimming, yoga, cycling, and walking can keep you — and your back — more mobile. Just don’t overdo it. There’s no need to run a marathon when your back is painful.
  3. Stay strong. Once your back pain has receded, you can help avert future episodes of pain by working the muscles that support your lower back, including the back extensor muscles. Having strong hip, pelvic, and abdominal muscles also gives you more back support. Seek advice about the best exercises to do as some exercises can actually put more strain on your back.
  4. Stretch A lot of us undertake jobs that require us to occasionally adopt poor posture. You should get into the habit of stretching in the opposite direction every 20 minutes through your day to relieve the possible discomfort. Many people get relief from their back pain by doing a regular stretching routine, this also helps build up your muscle strength as well.
  5. Think ergonomically. Design your workspace/home space so you don’t have to hunch forward to see your computer monitor or sit twisted to watch your TV. Use a desk chair or home sofa that supports your lower back and allows you to sit as comfortably as possible.
  6. Watch your posture. Be especially careful of your posture when lifting heavy or awkward objects. Never bend over from the waist. Instead, bend and straighten from the knees keeping your spine it its natural alignment.
  7. Wear low heels. Exchange your four-inch shoes for flats or low heels (less than 1 inch). High heels create a more unstable posture, and increase pressure on your lower spine. According to research, nearly 60% of women who consistently wear high-heeled shoes complain of low back pain.
  8. Kick the habit. Smoking can increase your risk for osteoporosis of the spine and other bone problems. Osteoporosis can lead to compression fractures of the spine. One study found that smokers are about a third more likely to have low back pain compared with non-smokers.
  9. Watch your weight. Use diet and exercise to keep your weight within a healthy range for your height. Being overweight puts excess stress on your spine.

10. Try an over-the-counter pain reliever. Anti-inflammatory drugs and some pain killers can help reduce back pain. Be sure to check with your G.P. or pharmacist about any interactions over-the-counter pain relievers may have with other medications you are taking. People with a history of certain medical conditions (such as ulcers, kidney disease, and liver disease) should avoid some medicines.

 

Finally if your low back pain persists contact your G.P. for advice.

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