Millions of people have to deal with back pain every year, with the majority of us having to contend with this discomfort at least at some point in our lives. Back pain can come in waves of sharp pain, present as a constant, dull ache, or even become a long-term issue that goes on for many months or even years.
If you have back pain right now, you know how much of an impact it can have on your enjoyment of life, ability to do things, stress levels, and even financial factors if it stops you from working. You’ll need to test different treatment solutions to see what works best for you, such as painkillers and other medications, massage, acupuncture, surgery, and more.
However, it’s also vital not to make things worse. Anytime we’re experiencing back pain, we need to consider how to stop the discomfort and injuries from worsening over time. Here are some ways you can go about this and protect yourself as best as possible.
Avoid Lifting Heavy Things and Doing Too Much Bending or Twisting
Your back will get sorer if you push it to do too much. Be kind to it by avoiding lifting things that are too heavy for you. Also, avoid bending and twisting motions that can hurt the muscles and vertebrae. At home, at work, and elsewhere, get someone else to help you move heavy or bulky things or utilize equip0ment such as wheelbarrows, trolleys, and the like. You can divide loads of heavy stuff into lighter weights where possible, too.
Also, try to push items rather than pull them, as this is usually better for the body, and steer clear of jobs where you’ll be in confined spaces having to twist and bend too much in awkward ways. If you have a baby or toddler in your household, try not to carry them for too long, too, as this can stress your muscles and joints.
Plus, learn about and practice proper lifting techniques. Engage and build up your core muscles as these can help take some load off your back, and always press from your legs when lifting, so you utilize their power rather than your back muscles having to take too much weight.
Work on Improving Your Posture
Another tip is to work on your posture as much as possible. The more effectively you sit, stand, and otherwise move about, the less pressure there will be on your back. Try to pick up on times when you sit slumped at a desk for hours at a time or have bad posture when driving a vehicle. It pays to see a chiropractor, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or osteopath, for example, to get training to move better and tips on specialized techniques you can use to improve in this area.
To get your posture back on track, take advantage of proper ergonomic equipment, too. For example, if you sit to work many hours each day, you need to sit in a chair designed to support your back and prevent you from slumping too much. Ensure the height of the chair works well for you and that your desk, computer screen, keyboard, and mouse all sit at an optimum level to promote proper posture as well.
Many people feel better and have fewer back problems if they stand to work for at least part of the day. It helps to invest in a suitable standing desk that will encourage you to stand up more, plus a thick mat or carpet, etc., to stand on for support. You don’t want to have to continually reach to type at a keyboard or reach a mouse pad, so update these tools as necessary and change the height and position of things to get the best outcomes for your body and habits.
Invest in a Quality Mattress
You may not think about it enough, but your mattress may be contributing significantly to your back problems. Is your current product suitable for your body shape and size and how you sleep (such as on your side or back, etc.)? Is the mattress ancient and something you got second-hand years ago, anyway?
If these factors are true, it’s worthwhile saving up to invest in a brand new, affordable mattress that will better support your back and the rest of your body and allow you to sleep more deeply. Proper rest makes us less prone to feel pain, which is a bonus.
Some other ways to protect your back include taking breaks from work and other activities more often so you can move about and not stay in one spot for too long, and lowering your stress levels. Strengthen your core muscles, avoid carrying heavy bags or backpacks for too long, and watch your weight, too.
Every little step you take to address your health in these ways will add up and make a big difference to how safe and comfortable your back is, now and into the future.