This week I received a phone call from a woman who was struggling with acute low back pain. She asked “Martha this isn’t the first time my back has flared up, do you have any tips to ease back pain?”
I want to first say that everyone’s back and body are quite different. There are many reasons for back pain. Here are a few reasons people can experience back pain:
- lifting an object the wrong way using improper body mechanics
- arthritic changes in the spine
- Trauma to the body(car accident, falls etc)
- poor posture which contributes to added stress on the spine overtime
- Decreased flexibility in the legs and hips
- Decreased core and trunk strength leading to muscle imbalance
Here are a 5 powerful few tips to ease back pain and sleep better
- Avoid prolonged positions(ie sitting/standing): Prolonged sitting especially puts added stress on the spine and discs. Avoid sitting on a soft couch. In addition, sitting cross legged may make things worse and it also creates pelvic asymmetry which can lead to back pain.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach and try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees(this takes the pressure off the back)
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, affect muscle cell function(cause weakness), contribute to low back pain, and affect brain function.
This means that dehydration can affect our central nervous system! Our central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord which affects our pain.
When the brain is dehydrated your body will feel increased levels of pain(especially if you have chronic joint pain or low back pain).
To avoid dehydration, focus on drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The amount of water intake depends on your lifestyle and activity level. Avoid excessive amounts of coffee, tea, and soda.
3. Avoid foods that cause inflammation. You are what you eat! I had a patient recently who had a flareup with her back pain and she couldn’t remember doing anything in particular other than having a large amount of chocolate the night before!
Here are some examples of foods that may trigger inflammation and back pain:
I have some patients who have tried Turmeric with positive benefits . It is a spice from India which you can buy in capsule form.
There have been quite a few studies done demonstrating that it helps with inflammation and joint pain. If you have any stomach issues or IBS symptoms I would advise NOT to take turmeric .
4. Daily exercise/movement. I hear it all the time from my patients:”I went to see my doctor for my back and he said to rest in bed. This is not the cure for back pain. Lying in bed all day(or prolonged periods ) is going to create stiffness.
Learn how to do the correct exercises(not what Dr. Google or Dr. Youtube advises!)
One of the best things to help you ease your back pain is to do the right series of corrective exercises – the proper exercises given to you by a trained physical therapist for your specific injury/problem that will help reduce pain, allow you to move freely again and make sure that the problem doesn’t recur (or aggravate your back even more like some exercises do).
5. Make a decision to get the help you need– I see so many people procrastinate for so long thinking their back pain is going to go away, but 6 months or a year go by and nothing ever changes. In fact, many times things can get worse if you ignore it and just work through the pain.
Physical therapy has been proven to help people with low-back pain. Here at Custom Fit Physical Therapy on Cape Cod it is one of the most common injuries we see.
If your back pain is affecting your job, your ability to keep active, spending quality time with friends/family or threatens your independence we can help you restore your mobility so that you can return to the life you so deserve.
If you’re experiencing stiffness/low back pain which is restricting you from enjoying the things you love to do click here to set up your FREE Discovery Session.
This 30 minute Session is something that we offer to people who are very nervous or skeptical about Physical Therapy – unsure of its benefits or if it is right for them.
If that sounds like you, then please start with a discovery session so that we can answer all your concerns and questions, work with you to find out what is wrong and what can be done to resolve the problem- without any financial risk on your part.